Scientists Without Borders, a public/private partnership dedicated to developing, advancing, and sharing innovative approaches to solve pressing global development challenges, today announced three winning solutions in the $10,000 Scientists Without Borders Maternal Health and Nutrition open innovation challenge. Solvers located in New Zealand, India, and the US will share the cash prize for their innovative ideas for developing significantly more effective interventions to address the critical problem of folic acid deficiency in women of child-bearing age in the developing world, which contributes to high rates of infant mortality and birth defects. The Challenge, issued in November 2010, sought simple and low-cost methods to enable women to easily supplement or fortify staple foods with folic acid at the home or community level.
The winners were selected from among 64 submissions entered over a 30-day period from teams and individuals in 21 different countriesover a third of the submissions came from Solvers located in the developing world. The first place solution was submitted by Carlos Miranda of New Zealand, a manager at a pharmaceutical company, who proposed a method of triple fortifying salt. The second place solution was submitted by Pushpakaran K. Thiyadi of India, a freelance researcher and consultant, who proposed an idea for microencapsulation of folic acid. The third place solution was submitted by a team of graduate students from Northwestern Universitycomprised of individuals hailing from Albania, Canada, Russia, and Vietnamwho proposed leveraging microfinance networks as a distribution mechanism.
"Undernutrition, which includes deficiencies in micronutrients such as folic acid, is one of the most serious and least addressed global development issues, contributing to an estimated 3.5 million preventable maternal and child deaths a year," said Shaifali Puri, Executive Director of Scientists Without Borders. "We are thrilled that
|Contact: Adrienne Burke|
New York Academy of Sciences