Canada invests 12 million dollar in worldwide mother and child health

Scientific news

Amsterdam, May 23rd 2014 –


The organization Grand Challenges Canada, subsidized by the Canadian government, has announced that it will invest 12 million dollar in 65 development projects that aim at improving the health of newborns, children and mothers in third world countries. Canada is one of the top players in promoting health of mothers and children in developing countries.

Lucky Iron Fish
One of the projects launched is the ‘Lucky Iron Fish’. This small fish-shaped, iron object should be added to the cooking water when preparing dinner in order to add extra iron to the meal to prevent anemia. Anemia is a distressing problem among the population in Cambodia. A considerable proportion of the pregnant woman and two in every three children suffer from symptoms of anemia. Common symptoms are loss of concentration, poor brain development, stillbirth and hemorrhaging of the mother at birth.

The ‘Lucky Iron Fish’ completely banned anemia in the small areas in Cambodia it was tested in. The investments from the Canadian government will be used to implement the fish in the entire country and potentially other third world regions. The idea for the iron fishes is based on a local folklore in Cambodia that says that adding a certain fish species to the meal brings luck. This raised willingness among the population to add the peace of iron to the evening meal. The fish is made from recycled iron and costs 5 dollars a piece to produce.

Another product innovation is for example a kit that helps to farm edible insects. These could provide a source of nutrients for children and mothers in the slums of Africa and Latin America.

Innovative projects
The 65 projects will be implemented in 25 low- and middle-income countries. They all contribute to improving the health of newborns, children and mothers. Beside material innovations there are projects that aim at collecting data for research or process innovations like implementing -small scale- social care systems.

Amongst the project, 35 are local innovators from 12 developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. They want to contribute to their community with a social enterprise that focuses on the health of mothers and children. The Canadian government wants to support them, as well as 26 Canadian projects, with 112 000 dollar each to start up their enterprise. The rest of the budget will be divided to four projects from Canadian soil that have proven their success, of which the ‘Lucky Iron Fish’ project is one.

Source: Grand Challenges Canada.