News / Health

    Study: Nutrient Powders Can Prevent Iron-Deficiency in Children

    Newborn babies are seen in a government hospital in Harare, July 19, 2011.Newborn babies are seen in a government hospital in Harare, July 19, 2011.
    x
    Newborn babies are seen in a government hospital in Harare, July 19, 2011.
    Newborn babies are seen in a government hospital in Harare, July 19, 2011.

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Kim Lewis
    A recently released study says that scaling up micronutrient powders, MNP’s, is the key to preventing iron deficiency anemia in children worldwide. The research was sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and carried out by the NGO Results for Development Institute in Washington D.C.

    Multiple micronutrient powders are tasteless and can be sprinkled on any homemade food, making it easily digestible even for babies.  It provides vital vitamins and minerals that children need for growth. Because of their iron content, MNP’s play a critical role in preventing iron deficiency anemia, IDA.

    Kanika Bahl  the managing director at Results for Development Institute,  said the report looked in particular at micronutrient powders and called for [their] dramatic global scale- up which can achieve improved nutritional status of tens of millions of children worldwide.

    Bahl explained how iron deficiency anemia can contribute to life- long adverse effects: “On average,” she said, “infants with iron deficiency anemia score up to one-third lower on mental development tests than infants with better iron status.  To put this in context, over a child’s lifetime, iron deficiency anemia in childhood is associated with a four percent decrease in hourly earnings later in life.”

    The managing director of Results for Development emphasized that the small one-gram sachet of vitamins and minerals cost only three cents per serving -- and it instantly boosts the child’s intake of vitamins and minerals.  But, she said globally, intervention has been slow.  Only a fraction of the 34 million children who need MNP’s receive them.  She said the Results for Development Institute recommends the international community mobilize a minimum of $200 million annually to scale up distribution of the nutrient powders.  

    “Two hundred million dollars is equivalent to less than three percent of the global funding provided for HIV control in 2011.  We recommend that countries themselves focus with the international community on scaling [up the distribution of the MNPs],” explained Bahl.

    She added that she was encouraged by progress being made in African countries.

    “My team was in Kenya last summer, where it was reported that 69 percent of children are anemic.  But, here the national government has worked closely together with civil society and with the local industry to develop a comprehensive national development plans for these powders.  And this approach, working in cross sectors is something our report highly recommends,” explained Bahl, who described Zambia as being another country that is doing interesting advances with nutrients.

    “In Zambia, the country made an incredibly interesting stride in developing vitamin A supplements in de-worming treatments, reaching 90 percent of the children.  We believe leveraging the infrastructure that has been so successful in health, and the political will that results in such strides in health, can equally transform the picture of nutrition of children in African countries like Zambia,” said Bahl. 

    She said a major point of the matter is that all mothers want the same thing for their children.

    “They want their children to be healthy, alert, and in some instances we’ve been told, tall,” she said. “So the message is micronutrient powders will allow your children to have the brightest possible future, one in which they are successful, they’re healthy, and they’re productive members of society.  It’s one of the most powerful messages around micronutrient powders available.”

    Less than five percent of those children worldwide needing MNP’s are actually receiving them, but, Bahl said there is hope on the horizon.  It is a matter of countries worldwide making the simple, yet effective micronutrient powders a priority in the development of their children.

    You May Like

    Turkey, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.