GAIN Convenes Pan-African Meeting on Food Fortification
Partners from 11 Countries Share Lessons Learned and Best Practice for Reducing Malnutrition
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, September 19, 2012/ — The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) (http://www.gainhealth.org) today convened a workshop in Addis Abeba among key partners from 11 countries across Africa to share lessons learned, successes, challenges and next steps in reducing malnutrition through large-scale food fortification.
While progress has been seen in decreasing micronutrient deficiencies in Africa and rolling-out national food fortification programs, more work remains to be done. Vitamin A status is still at levels of public health concern in West Africa, where more than 40% of the children suffer from vitamin A deficiency (UN Standing Committee on Nutrition). In Ethiopia, malnutrition in the form of vitamin and mineral deficiencies results in an estimated loss of nearly half a billion dollars gross domestic product per year due to lost workforce, future potential, and labor productivity (Concern Worldwide/World Bank). Food fortification is, as the World Bank states, “a technology available today that offers a large opportunity to improve lives and accelerate development at a low cost and in a short amount of time.”
“GAIN is committed to disseminating the important lessons drawn from this workshop on food fortification to replicate sustainable best practices and models across Africa that will improve the lives of millions,” said Marc Van Ameringen, Executive Director of GAIN. “We are excited to support the region and Ethiopia in scaling up its capacity to produce – and increase access to – more nutritious, affordable foods for its populations,” added Mr. Van Ameringen.