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Compensating control participants when the intervention is of significant value: experience in Guatemala, India, Peru and Rwanda

The Household Air Pollution Intervention Network (HAPIN) trial is a randomised controlled trial in Guatemala, India, Peru and Rwanda to assess the health impact of a clean cooking intervention in households using solid biomass for cooking. The HAPIN intervention—a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) stove and 18-month supply of LPG—has significant value in these communities, irrespective of potential health benefits. For control households, it was necessary to develop a compensation strategy that would be comparable across four settings and would address concerns about differential loss to follow-up, fairness and potential effects on household economics. Each site developed slightly different, contextually appropriate compensation packages by combining a set of uniform principles with local community input. In Guatemala, control compensation consists of coupons equivalent to the LPG stove’s value that can be redeemed for the participant’s choice of household items, which could include an LPG stove. In Peru, control households receive several small items during the trial, plus the intervention stove and 1month of fuel at the trial’s conclusion. Rwandan participants are given small items during the trial and a choice of a solar kit, LPG stove and four fuel refills, or cash equivalent at the end. India is the only setting in which control participants receive the intervention (LPG stove and 18 months of fuel) at the trial’s end while also being compensated for their time during the trial, in accordance with local ethics committee requirements. The approaches presented here could inform compensation strategy development in future multi-country trials.

Parents’ Perceptions about Salt Consumption in Urban Areas of Peru: Formative Research for a Social Marketing Strategy

Salt intakes in Latin America currently double the World Health Organization’s recommendation of 5 g/day. Various strategies to reduce the population’s salt consumption, such as raising awareness using social marketing, have been recommended. This study identified parents’ perceptions of salt consumption to inform a social marketing strategy focused on urban areas in Peru.

Using a sequential exploratory methods design, parents of pre-school children, of high and low socioeconomic status, provided qualitative data in the form of interviews and focus groups. Following this, quantitative data was obtained via questionnaires, which were sent to all parents. The information was analyzed jointly.

296 people (mean age 35.4, 82% women) participated, 64 in the qualitative and 232 in the quantitative phase of the study. Qualitative data from the first phase revealed that the majority of mothers were in charge of cooking, and female participants expressed that cooking was “their duty” as housewives. The qualitative phase also revealed that despite the majority of the participants considered their salt intake as adequate, half of them mentioned that they have tried to reduce salt consumption, and the change in the flavor of the food was stated as the most difficult challenge to continue with such practice. Quantitative data showed that 67% of participants would be willing to reduce their salt intake, and 79.7% recognized that high salt intake causes hypertension. In total, 84% of participants reaffirmed that mothers were in charge of cooking. There were no salient differences in terms of responses provided by participants from high versus low socioeconomic groups.

The results point towards the identification of women as a potential target-audience of a social marketing strategy to promote reductions in salt intake in their families and, therefore, a gender-responsive social marketing intervention is recommended.

The Effect of a Priest-Led Intervention on the Choice and Preference of Soda Beverages: A Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial in Catholic Parishes

Latin America ranks among the regions with the highest level of intake of sugary beverages in the world. Innovative strategies to reduce the consumption of sugary drinks are necessary.

We conducted a pragmatic cluster-randomized trial in Catholic parishes, paired by number of attendees,in Chimbote, Peru between March and June of 2017. The priest-led intervention, a short message about the importance of protecting one’s health, was delivered during the mass. The primary outcome was the proportion of individuals that choose a bottle of soda instead of a bottle of water immediately after the service. Cluster-level estimates were used to compare primary and secondary outcomes between intervention and control groups utilizing nonparametric tests.

Six parishes were allocated to control and six to the intervention group. The proportion of soda selection at baseline was ~60% in the intervention and control groups, and ranged from 56.3% to 63.8% in Week 1, and from 62.7% to 68.2% in Week 3. The proportion of mass attendees choosing water over soda was better in the priest-led intervention group: 8.2% higher at Week 1 (95% confidence interval 1.7%–14.6%, p = .03), and 6.2% higher at 3 weeks after baseline (p = .15).

This study supports the proof-of-concept that a brief priest-led intervention can decrease sugary drink choice.

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