To evaluate the acceptability of iron and iron-alloy cooking pots prior to an intervention trial and to investigate factors affecting retention and use.
Pre-trial research was conducted on five types of iron and iron-alloy pots using focus group discussions and a laboratory evaluation of Fe transfer during cooking was undertaken. Usage and retention during the subsequent intervention trial were investigated using focus group discussions and market monitoring.
Three refugee camps in western Tanzania.
Refugee health workers were selected for pre-trial research. Mothers of children aged 6–59 months participated in the investigation of retention and use.
Pre-trial research indicated that the stainless steel pot would be the only acceptable type for use in this population due to excessive rusting and/or the high weight of other types. Cooking three typical refugee dishes in stainless steel pots led to an increase in Fe content of 3·2 to 17·1 mg/100 g food (P < 0·001). During the trial, the acceptability of the stainless steel pots was lower than expected owing to difficulties with using, cleaning and their utility for other purposes. Households also continued to use their pre-existing pots, and stainless steel pots were sold to increase household income.
Pre-trial research led to the selection of a stainless steel pot that met basic acceptability criteria. The relatively low usage reported during the trial highlights the limitations of using high-value iron-alloy cooking pots as an intervention in populations where poverty and the availability of other pots may lead to selling.
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