Canada: AFN Evaluation of the Canada Prenatal Nutrition Programme, 2001-2003

(A project by the Assembly of First Nations Prenatal Health and Nutrition Sub-committee, in collaboration with CIETcanada)

The First Nations and Inuit component of the CPNP is a federally funded programme that tries to: improve the diet of prenatal and breastfeeding First Nations and Inuit women, increase access to nutrition information services and resources available to eligible First Nations and Inuit women, especially those at high risk, increase breastfeeding initiation and duration rates, increase knowledge and skill-building opportunities for those involved in the CPNP programme, and increase the number of infants fed age-appropriate foods in the first 12 months after birth.

The evaluation took place from 2001 to 2003, with the aim of improving the First Nations component of the CPNP. In 100 First Nations communities across Canada, all women who had delivered a baby in the previous three years, all youth in grades 7 to 9, as well as community leaders, Elders, traditional healers and midwives were asked to participate. Health care providers who worked with pregnant women in each community were interviewed.

The findings of the evaluation were first discussed in each of the participating communities, as well as by CPNP staff and other related health service providers. Their input was used to make recommendations on how the CPNP can better help First Nations women.

The evaluation was an opportunity to build First Nations skills in planning based on evidence. Communities selected community-based researchers (CBRs) for training – these researchers were exposed to all phases of the evaluation including design, data collection, data entry, analysis and communication of findings.