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Evaluation of a community level nutrition information system for action in a rural community of Zaria, northern Nigeria.
Annals of African Medicine. 2004; 3(3):120-125.The aim was to improve evidence-based action at the community level, UNICEF developed a nutrition information management strategy called Community Level Nutrition Information System for Action (COLNISA). It uses a participatory cycle of assessment, analysis and action to solve nutritional and health related problems. Structured questionnaires were administered to mothers with children under the age of five in 67 households before intervention and 24 months later. Showed statistically significant changes in maternal literacy [7(10%) vs. 24(36%)] and engagement in income generating activities [17(26%) vs. 54(81%)]. Similarly, the proportion of mothers attending antenatal care during pregnancy increased almost six-fold [7(10%) vs. 40(59%)]. Significant improvements were also observed in mothers' knowledge of exclusive breastfeeding [21(32%) vs. 62(93%)], practices of complementary feeding [11(16%) vs. 39(58%)] and oral rehydration therapy [16(24%) vs. 47(70%)]. Furthermore, there were significant increases in the proportion of under fives that were growth monitored [4(5%) vs. 46(83%)] and fully immunized [7(10%) vs. 22(33%)]. Conversely, there was a reduction in the proportion of stunted, wasted and underweight children [51(77%), 11(17%) and 41(61%)] vs. [50(75%), 8(12%) and 33(49%)]. The changes in nutritional indices were however, not statistically significant. This study shows that the COLNISA strategy has a positive impact on basic social, health and nutritional indices and engenders community participation. A controlled trial is however advocated before its wholesale application. (author's)