India’s anemia rates are among the highest globally: over 79% of children aged 6 to 8 months have anemia; 58% of the 26 million women who are pregnant each year are diagnosed with anemia. Although more than 17 million of these women have access to iron pills, 11 million do not take them for the recommended time (an adherence rate of only 35%). Based on research and market studies with Indian pregnant women, key reasons the adherence rate is so low are the pill’s side effects and that pregnant women do not like to swallow iron pills, because of their size and taste.
This innovation is to create an iron-fortified biscuit for pregnant women who would otherwise be non-adherent to iron pills, indistinguishable in taste from popular Indian biscuits. The innovation seeks to prove the acceptability of this prototype by pregnant women, equivalent bioavailability of the iron biscuit to the pill, and the efficacy of the iron-fortified biscuit. The results will help to better position the product for scale, and in turn reduce the burden of perinatal anemia.