Choudhury, Nuzhat and Raihan, Mohammad Jyoti and Ahmed, S. M. Tanvir and Islam, Kazi Eliza and Self, Vanessa and Rahman, Shahed and Schofield, Lilly and Hall, Andrew and Ahmed, Tahmeed (2020) 'The evaluation of Suchana, a large-scale development program to prevent chronic undernutrition in north-eastern Bangladesh.', BMC public health., 20 (1). p. 744.
Evidence of the impact of community-based nutrition programs is uncommon for two main reasons: the lack of untreated controls, and implementation does not account for the evaluation design. Suchana is a large-scale program to prevent malnutrition in children in Sylhet division, Bangladesh by improving the livelihoods and nutrition knowledge of poor and very poor households. Suchana is being implemented in 157 unions, the smallest administrative unit of government, in two districts of Sylhet. Suchana will deliver a package of interventions to poor people in about 40 randomly selected new unions annually over 4 years, until all are covered. All beneficiaries will receive the normal government nutrition services. For evaluation purposes the last 40 unions will act as a control for the first 40 intervention unions. The remaining unions will receive the program but will not take part in the evaluation. A baseline survey was conducted in both intervention and control unions; it will be repeated after 3 years to estimate the impact on the prevalence of stunted children and other indicators. This stepped wedge design has several advantages for both the implementation and evaluation of services, as well as some disadvantages. The units of delivery are randomized, which controls for other influences on outcomes; the program supports government service delivery systems, so it is replicable and scalable; and the program can be improved over time as lessons are learned. The main disadvantages are the difficulty of estimating the impact of each component of the program, and the geographical distribution of unions, which increases program delivery costs. Stepped implementation allows a cluster randomized trial to be achieved within a large-scale poverty alleviation program and phased-in and scaled-up over a period of time. This paper may encourage evaluators to consider how to estimate attributable impact by using stepped implementation, which allows the counterfactual group eventually to be treated.
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|Publisher Web site:||https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-020-08769-4|
|Publisher statement:||This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.|
|Date accepted:||23 April 2020|
|Date deposited:||03 June 2020|
|Date of first online publication:||22 May 2020|
|Date first made open access:||03 June 2020|
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