Community Assessment of Natural Food Sources of Vitamin A: Guidelines for an Ethnographic Protocol

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This manual is intended for experienced health professionals interested in food-related public health problems. It describes a protocol developed to understand natural food sources of vitamin A: their availability and use, cultural beliefs surrounding their use, and community perceptions about food and vitamin A deficiency. The purpose of the assessment described in the manual is to provide essential information for program planning aimed at increasing consumption of vitamin-A-rich food among populations at risk for deficiency. It gives careful and complete guidance that can be followed by researchers not generally familiar with ethnographic approaches to data gathering. Steps in the protocol incorporate techniques in public health, anthropology, and field-based nutrition. For each step, the manual defines research questions to be addressed, and guidance on how to collect field data on forms which are included.

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