Giving mothers confidence in their supplements

Mother holding toddler next to her two children smiling at the camera
Buying iron supplements can be risky for mothers because of the unsafe market. | Credit:​​​​ Naimat Rawan

Mothers and mothers-to-be in countries around the world face a serious problem when buying drugs and supplements: counterfeit products. Due to Afghanistan’s geopolitical position in the region, the sale of counterfeit products is not uncommon. The media have reported this concern and the government is working to address the issue. To make counterfeiting more difficult, the Afghan Social Marketing Organization (ASMO), with the support of SHOPS Plus, has updated the packaging of its Taqwia Khon iron folate tablets, essential to promoting good health for pregnant women. 

Updating packaging for a safer product
Iron supplementation is important to support a healthy pregnancy, and findings from a 2010-2011 government report suggested that anemia among pregnant women is prevalent in urban areas at 11 percent, and in rural areas at 17 percent. Prior to 2018, ASMO promoted iron folate tablets that were available in bottles. To make sure that pregnant women were using the ASMO branded product—a legitimate source of iron supplementation—the SHOPS Plus project and ASMO worked together to procure products that would be available in blister packs. Medicines in blister packs are harder to counterfeit than commodities packaged in bottles. 

Woman in burka talking to person behind the counter in a pharmacy.
ASMO is addressing the counterfeit issue through the use of blister pack packaging. | Credit: Naimat Rawan

Now, rather than tablets in a bottle, the new Taqwia Khon iron folate tablets are available in blister packs. This simple change in packaging makes the creation of counterfeit products too difficult and costly, ensuring that the Taqwia Khon available in the market is the actual product. ASMO received the new iron folate at the end of February 2018 and rolled out sales in March. 

Mothers and mothers-to-be can now safely take the tablets and rest assured that they are effective.

Learn more about our work with ASMO.




Sustaining Health Outcomes through the Private Sector (SHOPS) Plus is a five-year cooperative agreement (AID-OAA-A-15-00067) funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This website is made possible by the generous support of the American people through USAID. The information provided on this website is not official U.S. government information and does not represent the views or positions of USAID or the U.S. government.

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