Increasing vitamin A intake through promotion of orange-fleshed sweetpotatotoes in western Kenya: a women  centered approach

Pages 748-755

M.A. Oyunga, V. Hagenimana, K. Kurz and J. Low


Helen Keller International (HKI) food frequency method, developed to yield understandable information about vitamin A deficiency and consumption of vitamin A-rich foods in communities, was used to survey 15 communities in Ndhiwa division. Western Kenya.  Results indicated that vitamin A intake is low-mean score of 4.0, well below the 6.0 cut-off for vitamin A deficiency of public health importance. Four orange-fleshed sweetpotato varieties were introduced to 20 women’s groups in Ndhiwa and nearby Rongo.  Half the women groups were randomly allocated to receive three interventions to promote orange sweetpotato-nutrition education food processing and participatory methods to identify and overcome barriers to produce and use the new varieties. In Ndhiwa, the HKI score of the intervention groups rose from 4.8 in April 1996 to 6.4 one year later, despite drought, while the control groups decreased from 4.6 to 2.4, a net increase of 3.8 units. In Rongo, initial scores were higher and the intervention groups decreased slightly (8.9 to 8.4), while the control groups dropped substantially (8.0 to 4.3), a net increase of 3.2 units.

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