Solomon Islands: A Fortification Roadmap

Since 2015, FFI has worked closely with the Government of Solomon Islands and industry to plan, implement, and monitor the country’s first wheat flour and rice fortification programs.

One of only seven countries to mandate rice fortification, Solomon Islands is making strides toward a stronger, smarter, and healthier future.

In the Solomon Islands, 4 of 10 women and children have anemia,1 more than half of the pregnant women have anemia, and about 12 severe birth defects of the brain and spine occur for every 10,000 births.2

Photo: Becky Tsang/FFI
Photo: Becky Tsang/FFI

 

To implement the country’s existing regulations for wheat flour fortification, we began training wheat flour millers in 2015. However, early FFI evaluations found that rice fortification might reach more people. Though fortified wheat flour can be as effective as fortified rice, the average Solomon Islander consumes more rice than wheat. With the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s (DFAT) continued support and in-country guidance, we helped the Solomon Islands Ministry of Health and Medical Services advocate to the central government for mandatory rice fortification.

As a result of our support, Solomon Islands now requires most rice available in markets to be fortified with essential micronutrients—a move that improves the nutrition of more than 500,000 people.

To ensure investments in Solomon Islands remain sustainable, we will continue supporting the government through June 2020 with technical advice to monitor and enforce fortification programs, deliver compliance information to rice importers and other affected businesses, and implement a communication program for health professionals and consumers.

Micronutrient deficiencies won’t wait—and neither will we.

 

1. World Health Organization. The global prevalence of anemia in 2011. 2015. 

2. Blencowe, H., et al. Estimates of global and regional prevalence of neural tube defects for 2015: a systematic analysis. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 2018.