A comparison of improvements in anemia indicators in ASSIST and non-ASSIST sites in Mali
This short report describes the findings of a USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) Project study to assess whether improvements in anemia prevention and management among women and children in Mali were greater in ASSIST-supported health facilities compared to non-ASSIST-supported health facilities.
A historical “control” group was used to compare changes in anemia indicators during the first six months of the intervention in the first phase of the project (October-March 2012) to the six months preceding the implementation of the intervention in extension sites (July-December 2015).
Overall, findings indicate that improvements in performance over the six-month period appeared greater or slightly greater in ASSIST-supported sites for eight out of 12 indicators: 1) the percentage of pregnant women for whom pallor and hemoglobin were checked at antenatal care (ANC) visits; 2) the percentage of new ANC women who received iron/folic acid; 3) the percentage of pregnant women in ANC at 4-8 months gestation who received iron, folic acid, antimalarial, and deworming; 4) the percentage of women giving birth in facility who received Vitamin A post-partum before discharge; 5) the percentage of newborns who received immediate breastfeeding; 6) the percentage of delivering women who received counseling for exclusive breastfeeding; 7) the percentage of children under five who received Vitamin A supplements according to standards; and 8) the percentage of sick children under five years old whose pallor was checked and documented.
While this analysis optimizing the use of existing data suggests that the interventions of the USAID ASSIST Project were associated with higher improvement in anemia-related care and services in the Sikasso Region of Mali, it suffers from a few limitations, including a short follow-up period and the possibility that factors other than the intervention may have accounted for differences in performance over time