Efficacy and Cost-Effectiveness of a Culturally Appropriate Iron Fortified Food for Pregnant Women in India

Violet Health Inc
Organization Location: 
New York, NY, USA

Iron deficiency anemia affects 42% of all pregnant women across the globe, and contributes to 20% of all maternal deaths and low birth weight and pre-term births. Studies show improving hemoglobin by 1gm/L results in a 25% reduction in maternal morbidity. Taking iron pills daily is the status quo solution for addressing maternal anemia, but the average adherence is abysmally low (particularly in low-resource settings) and efforts to reduce anemia have stalled. In India the average adherence for women with iron pills is just 35%. After extensive market research with Indian pregnant women and working with researchers and nutritionists in Bangalore, we identified factors leading to non-adherence and took a technological and demand creation approach to develop a superior iron supplement that encourages adherence. The supplement is a culturally appropriate, iron-fortified food for pregnant women that fits into their lives and is viewed as acceptable by their key influencers. We aim to achieve proof of concept by demonstrating efficacy, increased adherence, and cost-effectiveness over the status quo iron pill. Our solution could scale to replace the iron pill, reaching up to 11 million Indian women and millions more globally. Our product development incorporated pregnant women's tastes, habits and influencers at every stage of the process. The result is a consumer-centric solution designed to address the current barriers to adherence; our product is culturally appropriate, while maintaining efficacy. No other iron supplement has proven that it can heighten adherence. We aim to with this study.

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