The Alive & Thrive (A&T) initiative works to save lives, prevent illness, and ensure healthy growth and development through improved maternal nutrition, breastfeeding, and complementary feeding. As a behaviour change project, A&T uses communication-centred approaches to improve nutrition practices in the first 1,000 days, from pregnancy to two years of age. A&T is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the governments of Canada and Ireland, and managed by FHI 360. The social franchise model for infant and young child feeding (IYCF) services was developed and implemented in Viet Nam in close collaboration with the National Institute of Nutrition, Viet Nam, and Save the Children. This toolkit describes, and provides guidance on how to implement, A&T's Mat Troi Be Tho (MTBT) social franchise model.
As detailed here, the MTBT franchises in public health facilities at province, district, and commune levels aim to increase the availability of timely and accurate information on IYCF through effective interpersonal and group counselling beginning in the third trimester of pregnancy and continuing through the child's first 2 years of life. They offer 5 standardised packages of services to encourage and enable clients to practice early, exclusive, and continued breastfeeding and age-appropriate complementary feeding. To be franchised, facilities must meet established criteria including a room for providing IYCF counselling, health staff and community workers trained in IYCF, and available IYCF job aids and client materials. Those qualifying earn the MTBT brand: name, logo, tag line, and uniform design of the counselling room. Good-quality counselling services delivered in this branded counselling room are intended to create a positive experience for clients and staff. The franchise model is supported by policy efforts and a mass media campaign to ensure an enabling environment for IYCF.
This toolkit includes: a brief description of resources in various formats on the MTBT model; manuals and guidelines for the design, implementation, promotion, supervision, and monitoring of the MTBT social franchises; and job aids and client materials. Although designed specifically for use in MTBT health facilities and for training those who will be involved in providing and promoting these services, the resources and tools may be of interest to anyone who wants to improve the quality of delivery of IYCF services. Programme designers and managers, trainers, supervisors, counsellors, monitors, and communication specialists will find tools that, it is hoped, can be readily adapted to their context. All resources can be viewed and downloaded by clicking on the links (e.g., to various videos and/or to behaviour change communication (BCC) tools).
Save the Children Resource Centre, January 3 2017; and email from A&T to The Communication Initiative on January 18 2017.