A step toward improving the supply of nutrient-rich foods in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) was the Sweetpotato Action for Security and Health in Africa (SASHA), a five-year action research project led by the International Potato Centre (CIP) designed to improve the food security and livelihoods of poor families by addressing the bottlenecks preventing the full exploitation of sweetpotato’s potential. The agriculture-health linkages proof-of-concept project in Western Province of Kenya, known as Mama SASHA, was one of the SASHA’s proof-of-concept projects. It was implemented in partnership with PATH, a leading non-governmental international organization in health, the Kenyan Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), local agriculture and health government stakeholders in Western Province, and two local implementing NGO agriculture partners, i.e. the Community Research in Environment and Development Initiatives (CREADIS) and the Appropriate Rural Development Agriculture Programme (ARDAP).
The Mama SASHA project was set in Bungoma county in Kenya’s Western Province. The overall project goal was to improve the health status of pregnant women and the nutritional status of children up to two years through an integrated OFSP and health service-delivery strategy. Mama SASHA was integrated into USAID/Kenya AIDS, Population and Health Integrated Assistance Program (APHIA II; then APHIA Plus), which was responsible for improving health services for pregnant women and mother-child pairs across the 2 counties of Bungoma and Busia Thus, the four control group facilities offered the standard APHIAplus training and sensitization on Infant and Young Child Nutrition services, but without the pregnant women’s groups, vouchers, or support for the production of OFSP. The two Kenyan agricultural NGOs, ARDAP and CREADIS, each supported the communities affiliated with two health facilities.
This meta-data focuses on the monitoring data collected over the 5 year period of the intervention. Briefly, the intervention was conducted at two levels with health facilities and communities, the facility catchment area being randomly assigned to either four intervention areas or control areas. In the intervention catchment areas: (1) Health workers (HWs) at the facilities were trained in nutritional benefits of OFSP and vitamin A rich foods in general and nutrition for pregnant and lactating mothers, including topics on breastfeeding and complementary child feeding practices. They subsequently provided pregnant women who came for antenatal and postnatal care services with key nutrition education messages (implemented using a flip-chart with clear designs and messages), including information about OFSP and vouchers to access OFSP vines from community level planting material decentralized vine multipliers (DVMs). (2) At the community level, community health workers (CHWs) were trained in the same topics as HWs, and pregnant women clubs were set up with monthly dialogue sessions facilitated by CHWs. The pregnant women were supplied with OFSP vines if they presented the vouchers to DVMs who were trained in OFSP rapid vine multiplication technique and OFSP production issues. The monitoring data covered activities at both the health and community levels through a collection of forms as highlighted in Impact Pathway document.
Disclaimer: Due to the weakness in assigning unique antenatal care (ANC) number for the beneficiaries, the data therefore inherited that weakness in government system and presented challenges during analysis.