RESEARCH TO PRACTICE: A MULTISECTORAL APPROACH TO PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT, RESEARCH AND GLOBAL DISTRIBUTION TO PREVENT HIDDEN HUNGER
S. Zlotkin, T. Aupperle, and C. Grasset
Objectives: To report on a successful public-private partnership involving a multinational company and foundation, an academic institution and various public sector agencies and NGOs for the development, research and distribution of ‘Sprinkles’ (powdered minerals and vitamins in a small sachet) to prevent hidden hunger (micronutrient deficiencies).
The Partnerships: Sprinkles, a powdered mineral and vitamin fortificant that can be added to any home-prepared food was developed at the University of Toronto. Efficacy research was funded by the public sector (USAID, Canadian Institutes of Health Research) and the H.J. Heinz Company Foundation. The goals of the Foundation and those of the Sprinkles Program were well matched. The Foundation supports diverse humanitarian projects, but focuses on promoting improvement in nutrition. The goal of the Sprinkles Program was to eradicate hidden hunger in children. Following successful efficacy studies which demonstrated significant improvement in anemia rates among those using Sprinkles, there was a need for large-scale production for country-wide scale up. The H.J. Heinz Company is one of the world’s largest producers of condiments in single-serve sachets, thus was well suited to provide in-kind production support through its CSR Program for not-for-profit manufacturing (India and Indonesia) and the development of a Technology Transfer Manual (TTM). The TTM which describes manufacturing specifications from raw ingredients to finished product, including quality control was also used by local ‘for-profit’ manufacturers in Pakistan, Bangladesh, etc who are now producing Sprinkles with the goal of making a profit to sustain the program.
Outcomes: To date, more than 1.2 million children have benefited from Sprinkles with more than 200 million sachets having been distributed in development projects and disaster relief (Indonesia post-tsunami, Haiti post-hurricane). Rates of anemia declined between 40-90% depending on the region and circumstances. Manufacturing is via the private sector while distribution is through major public sector agencies, governments and NGOs.
Implications: Private/public partnerships work when:
1. Each partner has clear goals which are complementary to those of the other partners;
2. The goals of each partner and the mandates, responsibilities and legitimate interests upon which those goals are based are clearly understood and accepted by each of the other partners.