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Is Decentralized Iron Fortification a Feasible Option to Fight Anemia among the Poorest?

Is Decentralized Iron Fortification a Feasible Option to Fight Anemia among the Poorest?

Chapter:
(p.317) 10 Is Decentralized Iron Fortification a Feasible Option to Fight Anemia among the Poorest?
Source:
Explorations in the Economics of Aging
Author(s):
Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo, Rachel Glennerster
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226903385.003.0011

This chapter describes the impact of a village-level health intervention to fortify locally milled flour. Iron deficiency is believed to be the most common nutrient deficiency in the world today, and is thought to cause reduced productivity, increased susceptibility to illness, and cognitive difficulties in childhood. Iron supplementation of foods is considered an attractive means to reducing anemia, because it requires no additional effort on the part of the consumer, and can be done cheaply in centralized locations. However, for very poor and isolated populations, such as the population in the tribal district of Udaipur, where this study was conducted, centralized food fortification is not a practical solution: most households consume their own grain, and do not purchase any goods that could easily be fortified. For this experimental study, local millers were trained and supplied with simple equipment to fortify flour in a safe and easily implemented way.

Keywords:   World Health Organization, deficiency, iron deficiency, anemia, nongovernmental organization, community-level iron supplementation

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