Matthew Edmundson of Violet Health in the U.S. will develop iron-rich biscuits and tailor marketing campaigns to combat iron deficiency in adolescent girls in India. Iron deficiency is a global health concern and is particularly dangerous during pregnancy when it can increase the risk of maternal death and health problems for the infant. Nearly half of all adolescent girls in India are iron-deficient, and although iron tablets are available they are not taken properly, partly due to their bad taste and a cultural aversion to tablets. Thus, more culturally acceptable alternatives are needed. To address this, they developed a low-cost, iron-rich biscuit that could overcome anemia and non-compliance to iron tablets in clinical tests with pregnant women in India. They will now focus on helping low-income adolescent girls by adapting the biscuits to their nutritional needs and preferences, which will be determined by interviewing 50 girls from different areas. These insights will also be used for a pilot marketing campaign to generate demand amongst the girls and their families and community members. They will test their approach with 300 girls from rural and urban locations in India to determine the effects of different marketing methods on demand.
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