How Non Consumers Differ from Consumers: A Qualitative Approach to Synthesize the Attributes of Iron Folic Acid End Users
Introduction: Anaemia continues to be a major hurdle to achieve optimum health in Indian population context. Although government continues to promote Iron Folic Acid (IFA) supplementation as one of the key strategies to combat with burden of anaemia, the expected level of IFA consumption and subsequent anaemia reduction could not be achieved. This study tries to investigate those influences, concerns, experiences and behaviour from an end user perspective through a qualitative methodology which may affect the IFA consumption ambi-directionally.
Aim: To explore and understand the several aspects related with anaemia and IFA supplementation with special emphasis to reveal the contributory factors behind low level of IFA consumption at consumer end.
Materials and Methods: A community based qualitative study was conducted in clusters identified through multileveled stratification from a state of central India. A conceptual construct was made in priory for this study. As the research question was related with policy, this study adapted a framework technique for making interview topic guides. Two consumers and two non consumers from each identified cluster were interviewed in depth. The data obtained through 160 in depth interviews (from 80 consumers and 80 non consumers) was utilized for thematic framework, linkage association and to typify the phenomenon.
Results: Ignorance, difficult intake, meaninglessness, misconceptions and discontentment with the system were the major dimensions (sub themes) associated with discontinuation. All these sub themes were further converged into major theme of informational discontinuity. Investigators further typified the users/non users into persistent user, potential defaulters, impending defaulters and absolute non users.
Conclusion: Informational gap seems to be the fundamental factor behind sub optimum IFA consumption. On a policy perspective, all the attempts should be done to instigate arise felt need’ among target groups for IFA consumption.