Field Trials for Target Various Kinds of Populations
Ashoka’s Nutrients for All and it’s partners will conduct three Field Trials to illustrate the power of advanced supplements that aim to deliver full nourishment ; thus create increased well being; as well as vitality in soil, plants, animals and people. These field trials also aim to act as an example of what a Nutrient Economy could achieve.
Each field trials is associated with a different stage of life
The 1000 days initiative will bring advanced supplements to pregnant women and babies up until the age of 2 years; which is a critical period in all aspects of infant development both mentally and physically.
The second field trials will focus on Education and nutrition.
Furthermore, these field trials aims to show how young children and adolescents will benefit in terms of health and educational outcomes (better academic performance, better athletic performances, better school attendance due to improved health) when school food programs give students access to full nourishment.
The third field trials will take place in the work place and is centred around nutrients and Employers.
This trial aims to demonstrate the huge improvements in all sorts of work related areas; such as improved productivity, lowered sickness rates, higher motivation levels and a healthier and happier workforce when full nourishment is introduced.
We welcome all partners to assist with the designing and conducting of these trials and also in analyzing the results.
Field Trials for Maternal/Child Populations
In India, for instance, 70% of pregnant women are anemic, and 48% of children suffer from stunting syndrome; or linear growth retardation. By the age of 2 years, these figures are nearly as high as those of some subSaharan African countries.
Moreover, malnourished children are much more susceptible to infectious diseases. Latest research studies shows that the consequences of ‘maternal malnourishment‘ are even more serious than first thought and affect the lifelong health of the child. In a malnourished womb, epigenetic signals often turn on or off certain genes in the baby.
The result is that such children are born with more fat cells and a life-long predisposition to obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
Ending this cycle
Disrupting this cycle by providing pregnant mothers with advanced nutritional supplements or full nourishment foods is one obvious response. This field trials will do exactly that, as well as experiment with different ways of providing and delivering the nutrition, and carefully document the outcomes.
But nutrition is not only lacking in the current healthcare paradigm for maternal/child care. To be effective, nutrition must be part of a more integrated maternal care service delivery model; such as that proposed by the 1000 Days Initiative.
The traditional approach to maternal/infant care in developing countries
Furthermore, the traditional approach to maternal/infant health care in developing countries puts doctors and formal health institutions at the center of the effort. However, in certain areas; such as rural India and Africa; there are simply not enough doctors and clinics to provide care through traditional models; and even fewer doctors are willing to work in rural communities.
Moreover, the traditional model is far too expensive. The 1000 Days Initiative intends to demonstrate a radically different service approach.
- Focus on wellness. Care for emergencies and illness is far more expensive than promoting health. The key to the 1000 Days approach is an integrated service delivery package of preventive interventions; (safe drinking water, advanced full range nutritional supplements, vaccinations) as well as careful monitoring at the woman’s home with traditional medical care as a backup when needed.
The importance of addressing malnutrition is clear. But frequent gastro-intestinal infections from unsafe drinking water can negate the effectiveness of both supplements and vaccinations (the whole wellness package is needed). Regular at home monitoring is virtually the only way to ensure compliance and pick up early warning signals.
- Focus on creating demand via healthier babies. Higher overall health in women and their babies must be part of the goal, not just preventing death. Evidence that the wellness approach creates babies with the capacity for success in life is far more likely to create a demand for it.
Nutrition interventions for mothers, in pregnancy and whilst breast feeding, and good child nutrition are critical to this.
- Putting information-empowered community health workers at the center of the care model. Enabled and guided by modern tablet-based mHealth tools, health workers will provide at least monthly check-ups and education in the patient’s home; supported by a local wellness or birthing center.
These measures will be backed-up by visiting doctor/nurse teams on a quarterly basis and by phone in case of emergencies. The system will identify the few who need to acute care; and reduce the overall disease burden.
- Exploring public-private partnerships. Many governments want to improve maternal care and encourage institutional maternal care delivery. But lack the ability to monitor pregnancies in local communities.
The 1000 Days Initiative proposes that private entities or NGO’s partner with government to provide a more integrated service model.
- Real-time data collection and analysis. A modern, mobile Informations Communication Technology (ICT) system underpins the enterprise. This access to data leads to an unprecedented capability for the health workers to communicate and monitor patients and any health issues they may have.
Nevertheless, ICT can also monitor the compliance of patients, worker performance and the effectiveness of engagement strategies. Thus new initiatives can be monitored for effectiveness and at risk; patients can be identified and treated earlier.
- Radically different economies. Locally-employed health workers are inexpensive and their training and employment must be encouraged. This means that the 1000 Days Initiative can potentially improve outcomes significantly; whilst, at the same time, lowering the cost of service; (compared to traditional models).
This would mean that many rural households would be able to pay for health care services; thus creating a sustainable model, or alternatively, an affordable public sector model.
Field Trials for Employers
Employers and employees have a common interest in worker health. Employees want to be healthy, productive, and physically able to stay at a job to earn a living for themselves and their families.
Employers meanwhile, want employees who are healthy and productive; thereby avoiding slowdowns in work or loss of productivity due to illness, absence or lack of focus. Having to rehire and retrain a workforce is both time consuming and costly.
In many developing countries, large employers often provide health clinics for their workers. By providing advanced nutritional supplements or fortified foods to the workers
Interested employers can be involved in the field trial; which will carefully document absences, sickness rates and overall productivity of employees who receive nutritional supplement compared to those who do not. The trial will aim to focus on improved wellness outcomes for employees; and also whether the savings from increased productivity pay for the cost of wellness services; including full nutrition for workers and for their families.
Field Trials for Education
As a matter of fact, a good education involves more than just schools and teachers, for a child to benefit from all that education has to offer, they need to be in good health. Whilst it may at first seem counter-intuitive, research has found that some of the most cost-effective interventions for education happen outside the classroom, particularly in a developing countries.
The right nutrition protects against illness; (and missed school days); as well as the inability to focus that comes from being under-nourished, and also ensures the energy to participate in athletics or other school activities.
Yet, while ‘school feeding‘ programs have become increasingly popular; all too often they provide ‘empty calories‘ ; enough to fill the belly. But not enough to generate nutritional wellness for children.
Nonetheless, the field trials will use advanced nutritional supplements or foods fortified with such nutrients; delivered through primary school feeding programs, and carefully document the outcomes.