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Assessment of the implementation fidelity of the Arctic Char Distribution Project in Nunavik, Quebec


Background In September 2011, the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services began supporting the Arctic Char Distribution Project (AC/DP) for pregnant women. This initiative promoted consumption of the fish Arctic char—a traditional Inuit food—by pregnant women living in villages of Nunavik, an area in northern Quebec (Canada) inhabited predominantly by people of Inuit ethnicity. This intervention was intended to reduce exposure to contaminants and improve food security in Inuit communities.

Methods We assessed the project's implementation based on data collected from background documentation, field notes and qualitative interviews with project recipients and implementers. Themes emerging from the data are critically discussed in the light of the framework for implementation fidelity developed by Carroll et al in 2007.

Results Pregnant women fully embraced the initiative because of its cultural appropriateness. However, project implementation was incomplete: first because it did not cover all intended geographic areas, and second because of a recurring inconsistency in the supply and distribution of the fish. In addition, the initiative has been inconsistently funded and relies on multiple funding sources.

Discussion This work highlights the extent to which project complexity can impede successful implementation, particularly in terms of communication and coordination. We provide recommendations for improving project implementation and suggest amendments to the implementation fidelity framework.

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