How Fortified Table Salt Could Drastically Reduce Infant Deaths in Developing Nations

Infant mortality in developing countries is depressingly high, with 3.6 million children dying each year in the neonatal period. Unlike many other global health issues, this one is easily fixable--cutting down on deficiencies of micronutrients like folic acid in women of childbearing age could dramatically reduce infant deaths.

So last fall, Scientists Without Borders, a platform that crowdsources solutions to scientific problems, set out to work on the issue with a $10,000 challenge that asked entrants to solve the problem of folic acid deficiency in women throughout the developing world with simple, low-cost solutions. This week, the winners were announced.

First place in the PepsiCo-sponsored Maternal Health and Nutrition Prize went to Carlos Miranda, an Argentinian pharmaceutical manager and amateur athlete (he has completed several marathons and an Ironman competition) living in New Zealand. Miranda scored $6,000 for his ultra-simple solution: table salt that has been triple-fortified with folic acid and vitamins B12 and B6.

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