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Solutions that work

We focus on the development of tailor-made concepts to raise the health status of specific population segments.
African boy with fellow students in the background looking up to the teacher

Although international organizations such as WHO, UNICEF, and WFP have defined standards and goals with respect to nutritional supplements, specific nutritional needs can vary strongly between different population groups, for the simple reason that foods and diets are subject to economic and cultural factors that differ from society to society. The Nutrition Improvement Program is able to create products adapted to the food habits as well as the health environment of the target groups in question.

Three recent examples of tailor-made solutions:

MixMe

Micronutrient powder

A vitamin-mix for home and institutional fortification is especially suitable for infants.


Purita Mamá

Purita Mamá

A milk-based beverage in powder form for pregnant and lactating women in Chile.


Fortified date bars

Fortified date bars

Together with the World Food Programme, we have developed fortified date bars for school children in the Palestinian Territory.

Initially a home fortification concept developed in partnership with WFP as part of the relief response to the Cyclone Sidr in Bangladesh, our micronutrient powder sachets for individual use were launched in 2008 under the brand name MixMe™.

Since then many millions of these sachets have been distributed through WFP and other organizations, and the powders are now also available in multiple portions for use in settings such as schools and hospitals.

The micronutrient powder is simply sprinkled over a cooked meal or dissolved in a drink. It disperses without changing the taste, consistency or appearance of the food or drink. It is very easy to use, effective and affordable. It requires no change in dietary habits and is especially suitable for small children. Micronutrient composition can be adapted to the individual needs of the target population.

Micronutrient powders for specific target groups

Iron and zinc deficiencies are among the most common nutrient deficiencies in the world. Attempts to supplement affected populations with high doses of iron have proved problematic in malaria-endemic regions. Failure to absorb iron in these regions may be linked to the available diet, which is often high in whole-grain cereals and legumes. These foods contain phytate, which binds minerals, making them unavailable for absorption by the human body. Phytase is an enzyme that helps release the nutrients, making them absorbable.

Micronutrient powders with phytase solve the longstanding problem of supplying essential iron without potential adverse side effects. In addition to all the usual vitamins, the new formulation provides low doses of iron in a readily bioavailable form, along with zinc, extra vitamin C and a phytase which is active at stomach pH. Such micronutrient powders provide sufficient iron to iron deficient people, but do not overload iron sufficient ones.

Micronutrient powder with soy – a complete and wholesome meal in itself

Micronutrient powder with soy consists of fortified soybean powder which, when mixed with water, becomes a nutritious porridge. The formulation, which was originally developed for the Chinese market, contains iron, zinc, calcium, vitamins A, D, B1, B2, B12, C and folate – everything a young child needs to develop properly.

A successful partnership helps Chile’s children reach their full potential

Equal chances for all from the start

Chile, one of the most developed countries in Latin America, is proud of its education and health-care systems. But the government knows that it is not enough to be a bit better than neighboring countries. It realizes that Chile’s future depends on its children. Sustainable economic development of society depends on ensuring children’s social and health status, so they grow up to be productive workers, entrepreneurs and builders of Chile’s future. From this basic concept, the Ministry of Health of Chile, together with three other stakeholders, has developed a food supplementation program that improves infants’ nutritional status through their mothers’ diet.

Purita Mamá is a milk-based beverage in powder form. Introduced in Chile in August 2008 as an improved nutritional supplement for pregnant and lactating women, Purita Mamá incorporates the latest knowledge about the nutrients needed for human development.

The special feature of Purita Mamá is that it not only contains adequate amounts of milk protein, calcium and the micronutrients essential for good health; it is the only product of its kind that provides 60 mg docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) per serving. DHA is a long-chain, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) that is essential for proper development of the brain and eyes.

The government of Chile distributes Purita Mamá to the whole population free of charge as part of the National Program of Complementary Feeding (Programa Nacional de Alimentacion Complementaria, or PNAC), although the main focus is on rural and low-income families. The women collect a month’s supply of the product each time they visit the health center to check their health status. After the baby’s birth, they are encouraged to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months.

A regular intake of Purita Mamá during pregnancy helps to eliminate women’s nutritional deficiencies, support the optimal development of the fetus and reduce the risk of premature birth. Purita Mamá also improves the nutritional quality of the mother’s milk. Babies fed with this milk are less susceptible to pneumonia or diarrhea, conditions that, earlier, caused more than half of infant deaths in the country.

Fortified date bars for emergency food assistance for operation Lifeline Gaza

Together with the World Food Programme, we have developed fortified date bars for school children in the Palestinian Territory. The children will get one every day which provides them with 40% of their recommended daily allowance of essential vitamins and minerals.

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