Anemia is a major health problem worldwide, and in Africa in particular. Research shows that it affects 50% of pregnant women and 70% of children under five in Central and West Africa, and is most commonly caused by iron deficiency (Stevens et al. 2013). Although the condition is well known, there is a general lack of awareness of the importance of diet. Danone is committed to empowering parents to break the vicious cycle of anemia, through access to nutrition and hygiene information and healthier food.
Why it matters
Anemia is a condition in which the number and size of red blood cells (hemoglobin concentration) falls below an established cut-off value, impairing the blood's capacity to transport oxygen around the body. Anemia reduces sufferers’ wellbeing, causes fatigue and lethargy, and impairs physical capacity and work performance.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has consistently recommended oral iron supplement as one of the ways to reduce the prevalence of anemia. And the WHO Global Nutrition Targets include a 50% reduction of anemia in women of reproductive age by 2025.
Furthermore, in sub-Saharan Africa, 60% of children live with iron-deficiency anemia. Babies are at increased risk of malnutrition during the diet diversification phase because they are given unsuitable solid foods.
How it works
At Danone, we believe that every mother has the right to experience the full joy of motherhood, and that through access to nutrition and hygiene information and healthy food we help empower them to break the vicious cycle of anemia and thus bear, and bring up happier and healthier babies.
We are committed to:
- working with local health communities and ecosystems to contribute to a better understanding of treating anemia in Africa;
- building relevant educational programs and services;
- creating locally relevant solutions for mothers and babies, by offering suitable and affordable products such as iron-rich Phosphatine instant cereal.
How it creates value
This program led us to organize a one-day iron-round table in Marrakech (Morocco) in October 2016, to discuss the prevalence and assessment of iron deficiency, the benefit/harm ratio of iron, the national strategies to fight iron deficiency and their impact in Africa. A report of this workshop has been published in the scientific journal Nutrients (M. Mwangi et al., June 2017).
Phosphatine formula is under constant improvement to provide the best iron fortified product to children at an affordable price. Thus, in September 2017, a scientific board of external worldwide experts on iron have validated the reformulation roadmap to provide the best iron formula, which will be implemented progressively.
In 2017, the brand also partnered with ‘GiftedMom’ in Cameroon to give nutritional education to 50,000 mothers through SMS in order to implement sustainable solutions to fight against iron deficiency anemia.