William H. Gates Foundation Awards PATH $5 Million to Aid Nutrition in Developing Countries
SEATTLE -- PATH (Program for Appropriate Technology in Health), a Seattle-based nonprofit, announced today the William H. Gates Foundation has awarded it a $5 million grant over a five-year period.
The grant will support the advancement of the technical and commercial development of Ultra Rice™, a fortified rice product. Rice is the staple food for nearly half the world's population. Thus, fortification of rice emerges as an option toward alleviating micronutrient deficiencies, which can result in diminished mental capacity, blindness, reduced immunity, and death.
Micronutrients including iodine, iron, and vitamin A are needed to help regulate growth, development, and the functioning of the immune and reproductive systems. Adequate intake is especially crucial during early childhood, pregnancy, and breastfeeding.
The technical feasibility and consumer acceptance of vitamin A-fortified Ultra Rice™ has already been demonstrated in Brazil and Indonesia. PATH's work under the William H. Gates Foundation grant will focus on demonstrating the manufacturing feasibility of adding other micronutrients such as iron and folic acid to the Ultra Rice™ technology and commercializing appropriately fortified versions of Ultra Rice™ in at least five developing countries.
The Ultra Rice™ technology was donated to PATH in 1997 by the inventors, the late Dr. James Cox and his son Robert Duffy Cox, whose company, Bon Dente International of Bellingham, WA, continues to support PATH's efforts.
PATH's mission is to improve health, especially the health of women and children. Founded in 1977, PATH has managed 950 projects in over 100 countries. In recognition of its expertise, PATH has been designated by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a Collaborating Center on Research in Human Reproduction, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), and Hepatitis B Vaccination. Support for PATH's programs comes from foundations, corporations, individuals, governments, and multilateral agencies. PATH's headquarters is located in Seattle, WA, with offices in Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Philippines, Thailand, Ukraine, Viet Nam, and Washington, D.C