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Experts advocate food fortification to stem malnutrition


A young child suffering from severe malnutrition lies on a bed in the ICU ward at the In-Patient Therapeutic Feeding Centre in the Gwangwe district of Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, northeastern Nigeria. / AFP / STEFAN HEUNIS (Photo credit should read STEFAN HEUNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Experts in food, nutrition and health have identified fortification of commonly consumed foods with micronutrients as key to ending malnutrition.

In a national fortification dialogue to discuss viable options to scaling up nutrition through food fortification ahead of this year’s United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS), held in Abuja, the experts said micronutrients fortification was a major strategy against malnutrition and could create a huge breakthrough in healthy living.

The Country Director of Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and convener of the meeting, Mr. Michael Ojo, said the development and advent of food fortification were a major game changer in food-based innovations.


He explained that the lack of micronutrients in the body is a major health risk and that is why it is often referred to as the ‘hidden hunger.’

Senior Programmes Officer, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr. Victor Ajieroh, said raising awareness about food fortification had gradually become part of a global movement.

He said: “After the successes recorded in salt iodization and sugar vitamin A fortification programmes, it is time to broaden the scope inculcating micronutrients in our foods to stem the tide of malnutrition due to lack of micronutrients.”

Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Olusola Idowu, said the Federal Government had held several meetings with stakeholders to identify challenges.

The meeting drew experts from the government agencies, the National Fortification Alliance (NFA), the Institute of Public Analysts of Nigeria, (IPAN), Technoserve, the Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria, (CS-SUNN) and other stakeholders.


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