Contributions of drinking water to health and nutrition in populations

Potentiality to transfer the drinking water technology to populations: a social franchise model

Flávio Diniz Capanema, Luiz A. C. Pedrosa, Rauph

Fundação Hospitalar Do Estado De Minas Gerais / Faculdade Da Saúde E Ecologia Humana / FAPEMIG, Belo Horizonte, Brasil. IBS Business School de Minas Gerais / Fundação Getúlio Vargas, Brasil.

Introduction: Iron deficiency anemia must be considered a significant nutritional problem in childhood and its sequels tend to be more severe according to the precocity of its onset, leading to eventual losses in terms of future growth and productivity at all stages of human development. In accordance with World Health Organization, food-based approaches represent the most desirable and sustainable method of preventing micronutrient malnutrition. Iron food fortification programs increase the dietary iron in foods in order to prevent and control iron deficiency in at-risk groups. The high prevalence of iron deficiency and anemia in infancy in most regions of Brazil has called attention to an inadequate nutrition on this group, making it a serious public health problem. Thinking on this matter, a Brazilian team of researchers has developed an innovative technology using drinking water as a vehicle for fortification. The utilization of this technology can be an important alternative for prevention and control of iron deficiency anemia in vulnerable population groups from low-income regions. However, the transfer process of new technologies developed in academic environment to specific populations presents a major challenge. One way to make these innovative solutions produces social benefits on a large scale can be placed by building models of social franchise, focused on the transfer of know-how to stakeholders as public managers and institutions of the third sector. The creation of a social franchise model aims to multiply the knowledge of methodologies, techniques and longer life experiences, acting as a project management tool aimed at a wide socialization of results. Objectives: This project aims at creating and developing a Social Franchise Model of the water fortification technology to be transferred to public managers for reduction of anemia and malnourishment in children population. Development: The process of development of the Social Franchise consists in mapping steps and workflows, definition of operational procedures and manuals that enable the technology transfer for governments and institutions interested in replying this innovation in their regions. The target is made of urban children enrolled in public or private daycare institutions. The fortification technique consists in formulating a solution with ferrous sulfate and ascorbic acid to be dissolved in potable water and distributed to children in free demand for consume. Quality control must be conducted by a population sampling from the program with measurement of weight, height and digital hemoglobin at the beginning and after six and twelve months of the use of fortified drinking water. Technical support will be offered to franchisees for the implementation, development and monitoring of the processes in all stages of the program. Adequate training is critical to prepare staff to be good facilitators and will be prioritized. Conclusions: Finding a way to increase iron levels in children is a concerned constant especially to low-income countries. The development of a social franchise directed to reducing nutritional problems in these populations can facilitate the dissemination of successful experiences through a consistent program, previously tested and effective. We expect that the adoption of this technology of fortification of drinking water with iron and ascorbic acid by governmental authorities and/ or social leaders can promote an increase in the iron status and a sensible reduction in anemia and malnourishment. The creation of a social franchise will allow the transfer of this technology in a standardized way, signaling in the direction of a reduction of costs and improved efficiency in addressing of nutritional deficiencies in infants and pre-school children of these communities. Special acknowledgement to FAPEMIG by financial support.