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n South African Medical Journal - An assessment of the implementation of the National Therapeutic Programme for pregnant women within the City of Cape Town district : research
Background. An integrated Nutritional Supplementation Programme (NSP), now termed the National Therapeutic Programme (NTP), was initiated in 1995 to address South Africa's pressing nutritional problems. It specifically focuses on maternal health, including iron deficiency anaemia and underweight among pregnant women, but its implementation and efficacy for pregnant women has not been evaluated.
Objectives. To determine (i) whether pregnant women qualified for both the food and micronutrient (folate and iron) supplementation offered by the programme; (ii) whether those who qualified received such supplementation; and (iii) whether those who qualified were aware of the rationale for the supplementations.
Methods. A cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted in all primary healthcare antenatal clinics in the City of Cape Town district, involving 114 women. All were interviewed using a questionnaire, their mid-upper arm circumference was measured, and their symphysis-fundus measurements (where documented) were obtained from their medical files.
Results. Only 5% of the women qualified for the food supplementation, while all qualified for the micronutrient supplementation. Only 1 of the 6 participants who qualified for food supplementation was registered and received it. Seventy (61%) of the participants received the micronutrient supplementation and used it correctly. Twenty-nine (25%) participants had heard about the food supplementations for pregnant women and 54 (47%) had heard about the micronutrient supplementations.
Conclusion. The food supplementation was not successfully implemented among pregnant women. The strategy requires further attention within the antenatal clinics.
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