Monitoring the marketing, distribution, and use of Sprinkles micronutrient powders in rural western Kenya

Parminder S Suchdev, Laird Ruth, Alfredo Obure, Vincent Were, Cliff Ochieng, Lorraine Ogange, Mercy Owuor, Frances Ngure, Robert Quick, Patricia Juliao, Christina Jung, Kathryn Teates, Kari Cruz, Maria Elena D Jefferds
Food and Nutrition Bulletin 2010, 31 (2 Suppl): S168-78

BACKGROUND: In 2007, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention partnered with local Kenyan institutions to implement the Nyando Integrated Child Health and Education Project, an effectiveness study that used social marketing and a community-based distribution program to promote the sale of Sprinkles and other health products.

OBJECTIVE: To describe monitoring of wholesale sales, household demand, promotional strategies, and perceived factors influencing Sprinkles sales among vendors.

METHODS: Ongoing quantitative and qualitative monitoring of Sprinkles sales began in May 2007 in 30 intervention villages. Data sources included baseline and follow-up cross-sectional surveys; office records of Sprinkles sales to vendors; biweekly household monitoring of Sprinkles use; and qualitative data collection, including vendor focus groups and key informant interviews.

RESULTS: A total of 550 children aged 6 to 35 months were enrolled at baseline, and 451 were available at 12-month follow-up. During this period, nearly 160,000 sachets were sold wholesale to vendors, with variability in sales influenced by the social, political, and economic context. Vendors living closer to the wholesale office purchased more Sprinkles, so a second office was opened closer to remote vendors. On average, 33% of households purchased Sprinkles during household monitoring visits. Training sessions and community launches were important for community support and raising awareness about Sprinkles. Vendor incentives motivated vendors to sell Sprinkles, and consumer incentives promoted purchases.

CONCLUSIONS: Sprinkles program monitoring in Kenya was critically important for understanding sales and distribution trends and vendor perceptions. Understanding these trends led to strategic changes to the intervention over time.

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