Journal article

Program impact pathway analysis of a social franchise model shows potential to improve infant and young child feeding practices in Viet Nam (Nguyen PH., 2014. Journal of Nutrition)

01 Oct 14
Author(s)Phuong H. Nguyen, Purnima Menon Sarah C. Keithly, Sunny S. Kim, Nemat Hajeebhoy, Lan M. Tran, Marie T. Ruel, Rahul Rawat
Topic(s): Breastfeeding, Complementary feeding, Research, Social franchise model
Location: East Asia Pacific
Language(s): English
Audience: Program designers and implementers
Programs: Strategic use of data

By mapping the mechanisms through which interventions are expected to achieve impact, program impact pathway (PIP) analysis lays out the theoretical causal links between program activities, outcomes, and impacts. This study examines the pathways through which the Alive & Thrive social franchise model is intended to improve infant and young child feeding (IYCF) practices in Viet Nam. Six PIP components were assessed in A&T-intensive areas (A&T-I; mass media + social franchise) and A&T-non-intensive areas (A&T-NI; mass media only): 1) franchise management, 2) training and IYCF knowledge of health providers, 3) service delivery, 4) program exposure and utilization, 5) maternal behavioral determinants (knowledge, beliefs, and intentions) toward optimal IYCF practices, and 6) IYCF practices. Results indicate that mechanisms are in place for effective management of the franchise system, despite challenges to routine monitoring. A&T training was associated with increased capacity of providers, resulting in higher-quality IYCF counseling (greater technical knowledge and communication skills during counseling) in A&T-I areas. Franchise utilization increased from 10% in 2012 to 45% in 2013 but fell below the expected frequency of 9–15 contacts per mother-child dyad. Improvements in breastfeeding knowledge, beliefs, intentions, and practices were greater among mothers in A&T-I areas than among those in A&T-NI areas. In conclusion, there are many positive changes along the impact pathway of the franchise services, but challenges in utilization and demand creation should be addressed to achieve the full intended impact. Study findings highlight the importance of analyzing the PIP through process evaluation for testing the links between program activities, outcomes, and impacts and understanding how interventions are implemented and utilized.