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Public Health Nutr. 2013 Apr;16(4):721-9. doi: 10.1017/S1368980012004156. Epub 2012 Sep 14.

Development of a nutrient-dense food supplement for HIV-infected women in rural Kenya using qualitative and quantitative research methods.

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  • 1Division of Geographic Medicine and Infectious Diseases, Tufts Medical Center, Boston, USA.



Formative research to facilitate the development, packaging and delivery of a culturally acceptable nutrition intervention for HIV-infected women in rural Kenya for an intervention trial.


Focus group discussion on three areas: (i) ingredients and form of the nutrition intervention, (ii) packaging and delivery and (iii) monitoring of adherence. Two single-blind taste tests with eleven different porridge formulations of various combinations of maize flour, soyabeans, peanuts, sorghum, mung beans, dried fish, raisins and dried whole milk. Follow-up acceptability focus group discussion was also conducted.


Voi, Kenya, community based.


Focus group discussion and two taste tests (twenty-one women aged 16-55 years). Follow-up acceptability focus group discussion (four women enrolled in intervention trial).


The preferred porridge for taste consisted of maize, soyabeans and peanuts. For animal protein, dried whole milk and dried fish were used. Although the women disliked the taste of dried fish, it was acceptable if added in small undetectable quantities. Sugar over lime was favoured for taste. Women believed they could consume at least two cups of porridge per day without displacing their usual meals. The optimal delivery interval was believed to be every two weeks in individual serving packages. Women who had been consuming porridge for several weeks felt the taste was acceptable for long-term consumption.


This formative research resulted in the development, packaging and delivery of a nutrient-dense food supplement using local ingredients to meet the dietary needs of the population and acceptable for daily consumption by women in Kenya for evaluation in an intervention trial.

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