A Prepandemic Nutrition-Sensitive Social Protection Program Has Sustained Benefits for Food Security and Diet Diversity in Myanmar during a Severe Economic Crisis

Background: One-third of preschool children in Myanmar were stunted in 2015–2016, and three-quarters of children 6–23 mo had inadequate diet diversity. In response, a large-scale nutrition-sensitive social protection program was implemented over 2016–2019. In 2020, however, Myanmar’s economy was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and harder still by a military takeover in 2021. Objective: The objective of this study was to examine whether former beneficiaries of this program experienced better food security, food consumption, and diet diversity outcomes in the wake of major economic shocks. Methods: In a previous cluster-randomized controlled trial conducted over 2016–2019, pregnant women and their children aged <2 y were randomly assigned to either: 1) CASH; 2) CASH þ social and behavioral change communication (SBCC); or 3) a control group. Subsamples of these former participants were then resurveyed 10 times from June 2020 to December 2021 during Myanmar’s protracted economic crisis. Randomized treatment exposure was used in a regression analysis to test for postprogram impacts on Food Insecurity Experience Scale indicators, household food consumption, and maternal and child diet diversity. We also examined the impacts on household income as a secondary outcome and potential impact pathway.