Flexible administration of Sprinkles for anemia control improves adherence and impact

February 2009

Liquid iron supplements have done little to reduce high rates of iron deficiency anemia among young children in developing countries, largely due to poor adherence. Studies have shown that home fortification of regularly consumed complementary foods with micronutrient powders like Sprinkles can improve hemoglobin concentrations. In a trial in Bangladesh, recently published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, authors hypothesized that intermittent and flexible supplementation with Sprinkles might improve acceptability and adherence compared to daily supplementation. Children ages 6–23 months in three intervention groups received 60 sachets of Sprinkles to use either daily for two months, over three months as desired, or over four months as desired. Children in the flexible four-month group had the best adherence, consuming 98 percent of provided Sprinkles packets, and had higher average hemoglobin concentrations at the end of the trial. Six months after the intervention, only children in the flexible groups maintained the improved hemoglobin status. Mothers in those groups said flexible administration was easier to adopt, and the authors concluded that the autonomy to decide when to use Sprinkles was a motivator to improve adherence, which ultimately resulted in better outcomes.

Improved adherence and anaemia cure rates with flexible administration of micronutrient Sprinkles: a new public health approach to anaemia control