Engagement of husbands in a maternal nutrition program substantially contributed to greater intake of micronutrient supplements and dietary diversity during pregnancy: Results of a cluster-randomized program evaluation in Bangladesh

September 13, 2018

Although husbands may provide support during pregnancy, limited evidence exists on how to promote husbands’ engagement and what impact it has. Alive & Thrive integrated nutrition-focused interventions, targeting both wives and husbands, through an existing Maternal, Neonatal, and Child Health (MNCH) platform in Bangladesh. Alive & Thrive evaluated 1) the impact of a nutrition-focused MNCH program, compared with the standard MNCH program, on husbands’ behavioral determinants (i.e., awareness, knowledge, self-efficacy) and support to wives to adopt optimal nutrition practices and 2) how much of the previously documented impact on women's supplement intake and dietary diversity was explained by husbands’ behavioral determinants and support. The results showed that, of husbands in the nutrition-focused MNCH group, 62% were counseled by health workers, 66% attended a husbands’ forum, and 34% saw video shows. The nutrition-focused MNCH, compared with the standard MNCH group, resulted in greater husbands’ awareness (DID: 2.74 of 10 points), knowledge (DID: 1.31), self-efficacy and social norms with regard to optimal nutrition practices (difference: 1.08), and support to their wives (DID: 1.86). Husbands’ behavioral determinants and support explained nearly half of the program impact for maternal supplement intake and one-quarter for dietary diversity.

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