Policy analysis of iron micronutrient programs at USAID: The FANTA program in East Africa and the micronutrient initiative in Bihar region of India, using comparative cost effective and cost benefit analysis
It is the aim of this paper to examine iron supplementation programs which receive funding from United States Agency for International Development (USAID) but approach combating iron deficiency anemia in two vastly different ways. A brief literature review and background information on iron deficiencies and the differences between supplementation programs and micronutrient fortification were reviewed. Two non-governmental organizations (NGO's) were examined for this paper: the Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance II (FANTA) and the MicroNutrient Initiative. The FANTA program included an educational component to their supplementation program while the MicroNutrient Initiative solely used supplementation of micronutrients to their population. Methods used were cost-benefit analysis and cost-effectiveness analysis to determine the overall effectiveness of each program in reducing iron deficiency anemia in each population, if the added costs of the incentives in the FANTA program changed the cost-effectiveness of the program compared to the MicroNutrient Initiative program and to determine which program imparted the greatest benefit to each population by reducing the disease burden in Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALY). Results showed that the unit cost of the FANTA program per person was higher than the MicroNutrient Initiative program due to the educational component. The FANTA program reduced iron deficiency anemia less overall but cost less for each percentage point of anemia decreased in their respective populations. The MicroNutrient Initiative program had a better benefit cost ratio for the populations it served. The MicroNutrient Initiative's large scale program imparted many advantages by reducing unit cost per person and decreasing iron deficiency anemia. The FANTA program was more effective at decreasing iron deficiency anemia with less money: $5,660 per 1% decrease in iron deficiency anemia versus $18,450 per 1% decrease in iron deficiency anemia for the MicroNutrient Initiative program.
In conclusion, economic analysis cannot measure all of the benefits associated with programs that contain an educational component or large scale supplementation. More information needs to be gathered by NGOs and reported to USAID, such as detailed prevalence rates of iron deficiency anemia among the populations served. Further research is needed to determine the effects an educational supplementation program has on compliance rates of participants and motivation to participate in supplementation programs whose aim is to decrease iron deficiency anemia in a targeted population.
0573: Public health