Effectiveness of unconditional cash transfers combined with lipid-based nutrient supplement and/or behavior change communication to prevent stunting among children in Pakistan: A cluster randomized controlled trial
Paediatrics and Child Health; Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health
Background: In Pakistan, the prevalence of stunting among children under-five years has remained above WHO critical thresholds (≥30%) over the last two decades.
Objective: We hypothesized that an unconditional cash transfer (UCT) combined with lipid-based nutrient supplement (LNS) and/or social and behavior change communication (SBCC) will prevent stunting among children 6-23 months of age.
Design: This was a four-arm, community-based cluster randomized controlled trial conducted in the district of Rahim Yar Khan, Pakistan. A total of 1729 children (UCT n = 434); (UCT+SBCC n = 433); (UCT+LNS n = 430) and (UCT+LNS+SBCC n = 432) were enrolled at 6 months of age and measured monthly for 18 months until the age of 24 months.
Results: At 24 months of age, children who received UCT+LNS (rate ratio [RR], 0.85 [95% CI 0.74, 0.97]; P = 0.015); and UCT+LNS+SBCC (RR, 0.86 [95% CI 0.77, 0.96]; P = 0.007) had significantly lower risk of being stunted as compared to the UCT arm. No significant difference was noted among children who received UCT+SBCC (RR, 1.03 [95% CI 0.91, 1.16]; P = 0.675) in the risk of being stunted as compared to the UCT arm. The pooled prevalence of stunting among children 6-23 months was 41.7%, 44.8%, 38.5% and 39.3% in UCT, UCT+SBCC, UCT+LNS and UCT+LNS+SBCC, respectively. In pairwise comparisons, a significant impact on stunting among children in UCT+LNS (P = 0.029) and UCT+LNS+SBCC (P = <0.001) was noted as compared to UCT arm.
Conclusions: UCT combined with LNS and UCT+LNS+SBCC were effective in reducing the prevalence of stunting among children aged 6-23 months in marginalized populations. UCT+SBCC was not effective in reducing the child stunting prevalence.Clinical trial registration number: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03299218.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Khan, G. N.,
Bhutta, Z. A.
(2021). Effectiveness of unconditional cash transfers combined with lipid-based nutrient supplement and/or behavior change communication to prevent stunting among children in Pakistan: A cluster randomized controlled trial. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Available at: https://ecommons.aku.edu/pakistan_fhs_mc_women_childhealth_paediatr/1092
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