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Students4Kids EN » Combating iron deficiency anemia in children of Mubende

Combating iron deficiency anemia in children of Mubende

Short description

This project focuses on fortification of locally processed cereal flours with iron so as to combat iron deficiency anemia in children. Cereal flours will be fortified on a small scale by adding a diluted micro nutrient pre-blend.

The problem we aim to solve

Iron deficiency anemia is the form of hidden hunger to be tackled by this project. Reason: iron deficiency continues to be the most common nutritional cause of anemia worldwide, affecting as many as 4 to 5 billion people. Iron-deficiency anemia affects three-quarters of children age 6 to 59 months and half of women of reproductive age in Uganda. In children, anemia leads to a significant slowdown in cognitive development, decreased physical activity, and reduced resistance to disease. Anemia in women leads to chronic fatigue, pregnancy complications, premature birth, low birth weight, maternal mortality, and impairs productivity, earnings, and care-giving abilities. Thus, iron deficiency anemia impacts significantly on morbidity, mortality, and national development.

Our solution

Most households in Mubende municipality rely mainly on whole grains or cereal flours from staple foods such as maize and millet for food. The women and children in these situations are nearly always anemic. The amount of absorb-able iron in their diet is also low and the diet itself inhibits iron absorption because of high levels of phytic acid in whole grain cereals and polyphenols in tea and coffee, which inhibit iron absorption, and the low intakes of meat and citrus fruits, which enhance iron absorption.

Living mostly in rural and peri-urban areas, people in Mubende Municipality harvest grains like maize, rice, sorghum and millet, or starchy roots like cassava and sweet potatoes that are grown on small plots of land. These foods are then dried in the sun, before being ground to flour in a small, local mill. Some can afford only to hand pound the grain to a coarse flour. In peri-urban or suburban areas, people often buy grain at the market and grind it to a flour at a local mill. The flour may be cooked to a porridge or dough like consistency (posho), and more often than not it is eaten without fresh meat or vegetables.

This project thus focuses on fortification of the locally processed cereal flours with iron premixes and encouraging the residents including school administrators to grow and feed children on fresh vegetables so as to combat iron deficiency anemia in children and women.

The innovativeness of our approach

Fortification is most often applied to processed foods made at industrial scale plants. However, in rural and peri-urban communities of Mubende Municipality, less than a quarter of the population consumes pre-processed and packaged foods. This project shows how fortification can be effectively extended to small scale milling operations, particularly those found in Mubende municipality, and encourage families in both rural and urban areas to grow and feed children on fresh vegetables so as to benefit the poor and needy segments of the population.

Technologies and Methods

Cereal flours will be fortified on a small scale by adding a diluted micro nutrient pre-blend to the grain during milling or to the flour/meal after milling, using: a calibrated scoop/spoon to measure an amount proportional to the weight of grain, or a sachet, containing an amount appropriate for a pre-set weight of grain. Home fortification using Sprinkles or crushable tablets containing mineral premixes will be availed to households that are not able to access mills. Teaching people how to grow vegetables to ensure constant supply of the vegetables.

Potential Partners

School administrators, Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance (FANTA), World Vision, UNICEF, World Food Program (WFP)


Voting ends on June 24, 2018, 11:59 pm (CEST).

Combating iron deficiency anemia in children of Mubende







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