FFI Newsletter December 2017
New Online System Aims to Simplify Fortification Monitoring
FortifyMIS is a new an online data collection and aggregation approach for fortification monitoring. The Management Information System (MIS) provides an improved means for food producers and government inspectors to monitor the quality of fortified products while providing decision makers with timely information to improve program performance.
FortifyMIS aims to:
- Simplify the process of compliance data collection for national-level food inspectors and food producers
- Improve how food control agencies are informed of implementation challenges
Developed by Project Healthy Children and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), FortifyMIS can be used on computers, tablets, and handheld mobile devices. It allows for automatic tracking of fortified food quality and safety data using customizable digital forms, real-time dashboards, and tailored data reporting methods.
The platform aims to reduce the time and cost of monitoring and improve overall program performance by quickly tracking the quality of foods and identifying where improvements are needed. By using FortifyMIS, national governments and fortification stakeholders can better capture critical data needed to improve data-driven program outcomes.
The FortifyMIS platform provides:
- A practical data aggregation solution for country-specific use;
- More efficient and effective tracking of product compliance in real time to better understand whether fortified foods contain the amounts of vitamins and minerals per national standards; and
- Data needed for countries to identify and act upon gaps to improve program outcomes in a timely, cost-effective, and sustainable manner.
By ensuring the delivery of adequate nutrients to target populations, FortifyMIS will be an integral component of global and national efforts to improve the nutritional benefits that fortification programs can offer to millions of consumers.
Users need their own login at www.fortifymis.org and permissions to view country data. People who would like to see how the system works can view it in training mode by contacting Laura Rowe, who became FFI's Deputy Director in April 2018 at email@example.com or Corey Luthringer at GAIN at firstname.lastname@example.org. They will send login details and a manual that outlines the system’s current capabilities.
15 Champions Provide Essential Lesson in Partnership
By To Le, Emory University Graduate Student and FFI Online Communications Manager
I sent a list of questions to the 15 champions to learn more about successes and challenges with fortification in their country, and what we can do as a society to continue improving fortification efforts. Even though the questions did not ask about collaboration between the public, private, and civic sectors, all our champions emphasized partnership as an important component to a successful fortification program in their countries.
I did not plan for partnership to be the main theme of the campaign. With a health policy background, I thought public health policy makers were the most prominent figures in pushing the fortification agenda. After reading the interview answers, I learned that a successful program requires many players in the field. It is not possible to achieve support from the government without the work of researchers, professors, and staff from inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations. Some of the champions explained that gatekeepers in the academic and nutrition communities bring awareness to the scientific evidence behind the benefits of food fortification. This can help reach policy makers who are focused on issues unrelated to fortification and other nutrition programs. Collaboration between sectors is obviously crucial to making fortification a priority for policy makers.Thank you very much to the fortification champions for their contributions to this campaign and their efforts in advancing fortification. Their outstanding dedication and leadership has left a significant and long-term impact in the field of nutrition. Read the full profiles with 15 fortification champions from FFI’s 15th anniversary campaign.
Adding Rice to Strategy for Addressing Malnutrition
Representatives from nine countries in Africa (Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Senegal, and Mali) attended a rice fortification workshop in November in Senegal. The event was designed to increase awareness of rice fortification as an opportunity to improve nutrition in countries where rice is a primary staple food.
“Rice fortification is an important tool in our toolbox to address malnutrition in all its forms,” said Lauren Landis, Director of Nutrition, World Food Programme (WFP), one of the meeting organizers. Other co-organizers were the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), FFI, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), Helen Keller International (HKI), Nutrition International, Sight and Life, and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).
Rice is commonly consumed in West Africa where fortifying other food staples is already mandatory in many countries. Oil and sugar are typically only fortified with vitamin A, however, and salt is usually only fortified with iodine. Wheat flour is usually fortified with many of the same nutrients that would be used in rice fortification, including iron, zinc, folic acid and other B vitamins such as vitamin B12, vitamin B6, niacin, and thiamin. But wheat flour consumption is not as wide-spread as rice consumption is in most of these countries; consequently, fortifying both wheat flour and rice with these essential nutrients would likely reach more of the population.
Existing food fortification programs are not fully addressing the nutritional needs, as noted by Noel Zagre, Regional Nutrition Advisor for UNICEF’s West and Central Africa Regional Office. He said that 5.2 million stunted children live in West and Central Africa, and half the world’s severely and acutely malnourished children are in West and Central Africa. He also said that 67% of children under 5 years in Africa are anemic.
A 2016 analysis by FFI and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) showed that in 12 African countries, fortification of imported rice plus the limited volume of domestically and industrially milled rice has the potential to reach 146 million people.
Quentin Johnson, FFI’s Technical Coordinator, notes that fortification is part of rice product specifications for the WFP, the US Agency for International Development, and the US Department of Agriculture McGovern–Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program. This means that rice used in these programs must be fortified if it comes from US companies.
Also see news that India’s Odisha Government plans to implement rice fortification through the public distribution system in Deogarh District.
For more information, see a map of global rice fortification efforts and links to multiple resources such as a summary of WFP’s experience with rice fortification, technical considerations for rice fortification, and a rapid qualitative test.
New Resources to Connect Grain Fortification with SDGs
The United Nations adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September 2015 with 169 targets. Meeting these targets by 2030 will require multiple strategies – including fortifying grains in many countries.
See a new page on the FFI website for details on how eight of the SDGs can be addressed with grain fortification, which most often includes adding iron, zinc, and the B vitamins folic acid, niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6 to wheat flour, maize flour or rice. The partnership called for in SDG 17 is also a critical component of successful fortification programs.
FFI Newsletter December 2017 Table of Contents
6 - 8 February 2018
Panama City, Panama
9-13 April 2018
Atlanta, Georgia, USA