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Quadruple fortified salt to save mothers, babies

Quadruple fortified salt to save mothers, babies

THE Haydom Global Research Centre (HGRC) is finalising a study that would come up with quadruple fortified salt in efforts to fight anemia among pregnant women.

Anemia has been one of the causes of maternal deaths and delivering babies with Spina bifida or Hydrocephalus.

The spina bifida occurs when a developing baby's spinal cord fails to develop or close properly while in the womb, whereas the hydrocephalus is characterised by head enlargement in infants.

Currently, pregnant mothers take iron-folic acid capsules when attending a clinic.

This medication is an iron supplement used to treat or prevent low blood levels of iron.

Research Manager of the HGRC, which is under the Haydom Lutheran Hospital (HLH), Dr Samwel Jatosh, said if the research becomes successful it would guarantee intake of iron-folic acid supplement among women, thus combating anemia during pregnancy.

 “We hope that this type of salt would be sold in shops across the country, thus making it unnecessary for pregnant women to take iron-folic acid capsules on attending clinic, which doesn’t guarantee the uptake of the capsules because some of them miss going to clinic or forget to consume the capsules,” he said

The research is aimed at enabling salt industries to produce quadruple fortified salt containing iodine, folic acid, and iodine and vitamin B12 supplements.

Low intakes of these micronutrients consequently affect a woman's health, pregnancy outcome and the nutritional status of breast-fed children.

The centre partnered with the Neel Salt industry in which, the researchers added those ingredients during production to get the quadruple fortified salt for the study.

Speaking to the ‘Daily News’ here yesterday, Dr Jatosh noted that the research, which started in 2019, has already completed a stage of data collection after doing a clinical trial to a total of 174 research participants from within Mbulu District and nearby districts.

The participants were given quadruple fortified salt to put in their meals and the centre monitored their development whether their hemoglobin levels increased.

“We are now in a stage of doing analysis to prove our hypothesis, thereafter, if findings are positive we will share them with responsible government’s authorities for further procedures for massive production and public consumption,” he explained.

The findings will be shared with the ministry of health, community development, gender, elderly and children as well as the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR).

Dr Paschal Mdoe, Acting Managing Medical Director of the Haydom Lutheran Hospital, said the hospital has involved the Tanzania Food and Nutrition Centre (TFNC) in conducting this research.

The hospital conducts several researches as part of its efforts to reduce dependency on funding from donors by increasing its own revenues.

Most of the funds for operating the facility come from the Norwegian government through the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD).

The Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) manages Norwegian public funds to enable the hospital to become a sustainable faith-based hospital in the country.

The NCA also supports dissemination of the hospital’s innovations to reduce maternal mortality and deliver high quality and affordable health services.

The HLH is one of the hospitals that run under the public-private partnership whereby the government contributes between 17 and 19 percent of its annual revenues.


Author: BERNARD LUGONGO in Manyara

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