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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 1497-1509

Understanding barriers in implementation and scaling up WIFS from providers perspective: A mixed-method study, Rishikesh, India

1 All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Rishikesh, India
2 Centre for Operational Research, International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union), Paris, France; Operational Research, The Union South-East Asia Office, New Delhi; Community Health and Operational Research, Karuna Trust, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
3 All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, India
4 Sri ManakulaVinayagar Medical College, Puducherry, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Meenakshi Khapre
Department of Community and Family Medicine, All India Institute of Medicine Sciences, Rishikesh - 249 203, Uttarakhand
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_1014_19

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Context: Since the implementation of Weekly Iron and Folic acid Supplementation (WIFS) program in India in 2013, little effort has been made to comprehensively evaluate the program. Aims: This study was carried out to assess the coverage of WIFS among adolescent girls, explore implementation barriers, and suggest solutions to improve WIFS through public schools in Rishikesh, India (2018–19). Methods and Materials: This was a sequential explanatory mixed-methods study. Quantitative component was a community-based cross-sectional survey to determine the prevalence of anemia and coverage of WIFS. Qualitative component added an explanation to understand WIFS implementation through document review and nonparticipant observation of WIFS session. We invited stakeholders for nominal group discussion on barriers and solutions. Statistical Analysis Used: Variables were described as proportion and mean. Group discussion transcript was analyzed using content analysis. Results: Of 400 adolescent girls, 16% (95% CI: 12.4, 19.6) received weekly and 45% ever received iron tablets over the last 3 months and 79% were anemic. From ten schools, one school never implemented WIFS. There was iron-folic acid (IFA) stock out for 10 months last year. Major barriers identified were nonavailability of IFA, and irregularity in submitting IFA consumption report. Suggested solutions were ensuring IFA stock, strengthening supervision, ownership, training, and regular meetings of stakeholders. Conclusions: To conclude, in a setting with high anemia prevalence, WIFS was poorly implemented. Ownership and strengthening supervision is essential for the success of the program.

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