Anaemia is a widespread public health issue in India, affecting 53% of women aged 15 to 49 years. Anaemia is thought to be responsible for 20% of maternal deaths, and in pregnant women the condition can lead to low birth weight and cognitive issues in children. A simple way to tackle iron deficiency anaemia is for pregnant women to take an Iron and Folic Acid (IFA) supplement every single day. However, factors such as forgetfulness and lack of awareness about the ill-effects of anaemia on their and their child’s health contribute to women not adopting IFA pills.
In an attempt to test common barriers to uptake and adherence of IFA pills, an anaemia behaviour change programme was launched. Two interventions were identified based on the tests. These were a goal tracker and a counselling card job aid for frontline workers.
Following these initial tests, a larger field study was conducted. Women were provided with a goal tracker in the form of a calendar to hang up in their homes to track their daily IFA pill usage addressing the problem of forgetfulness.
The calendar acted as an interactive goal tracking device that triggered the women towards formation of a habit. The field results showed that the calendar increased adherence by 14%.
Source: Busara and Centre for Social and Behavioural Change, Ashoka University
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