Development and acceptability evaluation of millet-sesame-soy composite as a complementary food in Acholi sub-region of Uganda

Complementary feeding still remains a challenge to many rural mothers in Uganda and Africa at large. This is mainly because of: (i) inappropriate complementary feeding practices by caregivers who lack adequate nutritional knowledge and good attitude towards complementary feeding; and (ii) commercial complementary food formulae available on the market are too expensive and not easily accessible to poor people in developing countries who live mainly in rural areas. The use of locally available food resources to produce locally-adapted formulae has been suggested as a potential option for complementary feeding in rural areas. Therefore this study: (i) assessed the knowledge, attitude and practices of caregivers of 6-23 months old children in Acholi Sub-region of Uganda using household survey and focus group discussions; and (ii) experimented the feasibility of the option of producing locally adapted formulae using millet, sesame and soy, food resources locally available in the area. Various combinations of millet, sesame and soy were compounded to produce complementary food formulae corresponding to energy content of 200, 300 and 550 Kcal meant for breast fed children in the age category 6-8, 9-11, and 12-23 months, respectively and processed into flour under rural conditions. The flour formulae were reconstituted into porridge and evaluated for sensory attributes and acceptability among mothers and caregivers of children 6-23 months old to enable them select the most preferred formula for each energy category. The results showed that a high proportion of caregivers had good knowledge (88%) and attitude (90.1%) towards complementary feeding. However, only a half (50%) practiced what they knew. In relation to socio-demographic factors, education status of the household head and sex of the child significantly predicted caregiver knowledge on complementary feeding (P≤0.05). Education status of the household head also predicted caregiver attitude towards complementary feeding (P≤0.05). However no socio-demographic factors predicted complementary feeding practices among caregivers. Based on the results of overall xiii acceptability evaluation, the community selected 92 % millet-0.8% sesame-7.2% soy, 75 % millet-10% sesame-15% soy, and 12.1% millet-10% sesame-77.9% soy composite, as the most preferred formula for children aged 6-8, 9-11 and 12-23 months, respectively. Laboratory analyses showed that the selected formulae had energy and nutrient density within the recommended levels for complementary food formulae. Interestingly, mothers and caregivers who participated in the study expressed willingness to start using the formulae with immediate effect. However, training is still required to extend the technology to the wider community in the sub-region. The results of this study demonstrate that use of locally available food resources to develop complementary formulae is indeed a feasible option for management of child undernutrition in rural areas.
Date of publication: 
Region Focus: 
East Africa
RUFORUM Theses and Dissertations
Licence conditions: 
Open Access
Access restriction: 
Project sponsor: 
Ipolto Okello-Uma; Duncan Ongeng
Web resource
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