Validation of Maternal Report of Receipt of Iron-Folic Acid Supplementation during Antenatal Care in Rural Southern Nepal

Emily Bryce, Melinda Munos, Tsering Pema Lama, Subarna K. Khatry, Steve Leclerq, Joanne Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Coverage of iron-folic acid (IFA) supplementation is a key indicator for tracking programmatic progress within and across countries. However, the validity of maternal report of this information during household surveys has yet to be determined. Objectives: This study aimed to examine the validity of maternal recall of receipt of IFA supplementation during antenatal care (ANC) and factors associated with accuracy of maternal recall. Methods: A longitudinal cohort design was employed. The direct observation of the IFA received during all ANC visits at the 5 study health posts served as the "gold standard"to the maternal report of IFA received during the postpartum interview. Individual-level validity was assessed by calculating indicator sensitivity, specificity, and AUC. The inflation factor (IF) measured population-level bias. A multivariable log-binomial model was used to assess factors associated with accurate recall. Results: The majority (95.8%) of women were observed receiving IFA during pregnancy. Women overreported the number of IFA tablets received compared with what was observed during ANC visits (mean difference: 45 tablets). Maternal report of any IFA receipt was moderate (AUC = 0.60; 95% CI: 0.50, 0.71), and population bias was low (IF = 1.01). However, the individual-level validity was poor across the 7 IFA tablet count categories; the AUC for categories ranged from misleading to moderate. Driven by the trend of maternal overreport, the IF indicated that maternal report drastically underestimated the coverage of lower tablet categories and overestimated the coverage of higher tablet counts. Accuracy of maternal report was not associated with months since last ANC observation nor any maternal characteristics. Conclusions: Maternal report of the amount of IFA supplementation received during pregnancy produced extremely biased population coverage and performed poorly to moderately for individual-level validity. It is imperative to improve this indicator because it is used in global frameworks and national program planning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)310-318
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022


  • Nepal
  • antenatal care
  • coverage
  • iron-folic acid
  • measurement
  • validation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Validation of Maternal Report of Receipt of Iron-Folic Acid Supplementation during Antenatal Care in Rural Southern Nepal'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this