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Abstract

Undernutrition is a major public health problem for under 5 years of age children in India. Approximately 41% and 21% of under 5 years of age children are stunted and wasted respectively. Despite the known importance of age appropriate infant and young child feeding practices for child nutrition, the rates of these practices remain poor in India. The major determinants for inappropriate IYCF practices are beliefs and knowledge of parents and caregivers. These can be effectively addressed through counselling by mobile Health technology as mobile phones are widely available and have a high penetration across the country. This formative research explored the perceptions of caregivers regarding infant feeding practices, feasibility of mobile phone for counselling and targeted messaging to mothers on appropriate infant feeding. We conducted in-depth interviews, focus group discussions and key informant interviews. The data were translated, transcribed and analysed using a thematic approach. We found that rural households have at least one mobile phone with good network connectivity. Utilizing mobile phones for counselling was found to be acceptable in the community, provided that the advice given is affordable, tailored to their cultural beliefs and socio-economic status.

Keywords

Mobile Health, Infant and Young Child Feeding, Mobile Phones, Malnutrition, Formative Research, India

Author Bio(s)

Samreen Sadaf Khan, BAMS, is Project Manager at Lata Medical Research Foundation, Nagpur. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: samreensadaf.66@gmail.com.

Archana Patel, MD, DNB (Paediatrics), Masters in Clinical Epidemiology (University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA), PhD (Community Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology, University of Newcastle, Australia) is Program Director at Lata Medical Research Foundation and Professor Emeritus of Paediatrics at Indira Gandhi Government Medical College Nagpur, India. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: dr_apatel@yahoo.com

Amrita Puranik, MSc, is Project Manager at Lata Medical Research Foundation, Nagpur.

Priyanka Kuhite, BHMS, is Assistant Project Co-ordinator at Lata Medical Research Foundation, Nagpur.

Yamini Pusdekar, MD, is Research Co-ordinator at Lata Medical Research Foundation, Nagpur.

Michael J. Dibley, MPH, is Professor in Global Public Health Nutrition, Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.

Ashraful Alam, PhD, is a Senior Research Fellow in Medical Anthropology at Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: neeloy.alam@sydney.edu.au.

Acknowledgements

The authors disclosed receipt of financial support for the research from AusAID under the Public Sector Linkages Programme through University of Sydney. We wish to acknowledge all respondents who participated in the study, shared their valuable feedback and time. The authors would also like to acknowledge efforts of Dr. Laurel Sydney Gabler and her constructive comments to improve the manuscript.

Publication Date

6-21-2020

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

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