Students of Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Tirupati, are at the forefront in eradicating anaemia in India, which has been a cause of concern among policymakers, nutritionists and food security experts.
Shreyas Samir Parkhie and Shubhra Singhal, graduate students from IISER Tirupati, along with Kumaresh Krishnan, an MCO graduate from Harvard University, won the Seed for Change Grant of $10,000 from The Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute at Harvard. The grant will be used to actualise their project INDIA EATS, an acronym for India Eradicating Anaemia Through Spirulina.
Though 40% of the Indian population experiences anaemia, the high cost of supplements is a major impediment in addressing the issue. The brainstorming session conducted between the institutes churned up a number of factors, from which spirulina finally emerged as a viable solution. A member of the algae family, spirulina is rich in iron and has already been shown to be a better supplement than the conventional iron and folic acid tablets being used as a standard treatment for anaemia. Studies have also shown that spirulina increases haemoglobin levels among adolescents, children and pregnant women.