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Improving the uptake and adherence of Folic Acid in India

The Behavioural Science Approach

"Anemia is a pervasive public health problem in India, with 53% of women aged 15-49 years being anemic. It is estimated that 20% of maternal deaths are anemia related and the condition can cause low birth weight and cognitive issues for children. "

In order to address this concern, there is a strong commitment from the Indian government to reduce anemia prevalence amongst pregnant women and adolescent girls. In partnership with the Centre for Social and Behavioural Change (CSBC), Busara worked on narrowing down and refining interventions aimed at driving uptake and adherence of IFA pills amongst pregnant and lactating women in India.

The Behavioural Science Approach

Adherence to a (sometimes difficult or painful) regiment is subject to a number of behavioral barriers. The WHO estimates that adherence to long-term therapies in the general population is around 50% in developed economies, and is likely much lower in developing countries. People’s tendency to have limited attention, to discount the future heavily in favor of the present, and to overweigh the potential risk of side effects all factor into low adherence rates. We also know that small changes to factors such as self-efficacy and perceived control appear to strongly correlate with improved adherence, indicating that there may be strong psychological drivers that can be leveraged. This project aimed to explore how a behavioral science approach might lead to more effective design of interventions to support adherence to IFA pills for childbearing women.

Read the full article detailing the interventions and findings by downloading the Diversifi Annual Compendium 2020

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