FFI Newsletter September 2012
Championing 'Smarter Futures' in Africa
In 2009, a new partnership that became known as Smarter Futures was established to improve nutrition through flour fortification in Africa. After a successful three-year project, it is scaling up efforts with a commitment from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands to contribute 1.5 million Euros (US $ 1.8 million) through 2016. The Dutch support will be matched with financial and in-kind contributions from public and private sector partners including AkzoNobel, the Flour Fortification Initiative (FFI), Helen Keller International (HKI) and the International Federation for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus (IF).
"We are very pleased that with the continued support of the Dutch Government, we can take Smarter Futures to the next level,” said Scott Montgomery, FFI Director. FFI serves as an umbrella organization for Smarter Futures. “We are committed to working efficiently and transparently with our vast network of partners on the ground in Africa to make cereal grain fortification standard milling practice across the continent.”
In September 2008, only six countries in Africa had legislation to require wheat flour fortification. Currently 18 countries in Africa have these mandates, at least three countries fortify more than half their flour through voluntary efforts, and six countries have documented efforts that they are planning a national-scale flour fortification program. See more on the Smarter Futures partnership.
Program Monitoring Examples Being Developed
Contact us to be included
In response to your requests for good examples of national level flour fortification program monitoring, we are beginning to document successful monitoring systems in different geographic regions. In the first step, Philip Randall will develop case studies on three countries with successful monitoring systems. These will be available on the FFI website for your use as examples when designing a monitoring system.
A program monitoring system can provide data to help assess the quality, availability, access, and consumption of fortified flour. This data can be used to improve the program as needed to ensure that it has the desired health impact.
The case studies are being coordinated through FFI, UNICEF, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These partners are in the process of determining useful monitoring questions that could be pilot tested in 2013. If your country has a successful monitoring system and you want to be included in this process, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Updates: Cambodia, ECSA-HC, India, Europe Workshop
- Fortification Potential in Cambodia: Although wheat flour consumption is relatively low in Cambodia, it is growing steadily. Urban residents eat French-style baguettes filled with pate or other meats and vegetables. These convenience foods are very tasty and filling. Wheat consumption is also rising due to the popularity of instant noodles. This is a common trend through the region. Cambodia has two flour mills. If these mills fortify their flour, Cambodians who eat these popular foods would benefit from additional vitamins and minerals in their diets. Also, Cambodia imports flour from neighboring Viet Nam. If Viet Nam fortifies its flour as is being discussed, it will benefit the Cambodian population as well. See photos from a recent fact-finding trip by the FFI Asia Secretariat.
- ECSA-HC Supports Mandatory Fortification: A recommendation for mandatory food fortification by large scale producers was passed by the East Central and Southern Africa Health Community (ECSA-HC) countries for salt, wheat and maize flours, sugar and vegetable oil. This will be presented in the minister’s conference for adoption. While ECSA-HC had supported fortification previously, support of mandatory fortification will hopefully expedite fortification efforts in the region.
- Delhi Program to Reach 5 Million People: In India, the Government of Delhi launched a flour fortification program on 11 September. It is expected to reach 5 million people through 15,000 metric tons of wheat flour fortified with iron, folic acid and vitamin B12.
- Presentations and Pictures: In June 2012 we joined efforts with UNICEF to host two regional workshops in Ankara, Turkey, for countries in the Central and Eastern Europe and Commonwealth of Independent States. The first workshop focused on the scientific aspects of fortification while the second was geared towards representatives of flour milling companies, government ministries and inspection agencies. A summary, photos, and presentations from the workshop are now posted on the FFI website.
New Toolkit Offers Survey Support
A new Survey Toolkit for Nutritional Assessment supports countries to assess and monitor the elimination of vitamin and mineral malnutrition. The toolkit was developed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) International Micronutrient Malnutrition Prevention and Control Program (IMMPaCt).
The toolkit provides a set of resources collected from many sources, including public health specialists from the CDC and other agencies. Using the toolkit, survey planners do not need to create various tools anew for each survey, such as household and market-based questionnaires that examine fortification feasibility, availability, and use.
National surveys provide excellent baseline data for implementation of nutrition interventions, including flour fortification. Also, surveys can be used to collect follow-up data once interventions have been implemented.
The toolkit provides:
- A search function that enables the user to identify the tools needed for a specific task or to work through the stages of survey planning and implementation step by step
- Examples of how the tools have been used in the field
- A collection of resources that will be updated as research and best practices evolve
The Survey Toolkit is hosted by the Micronutrient Initiative and can be found on their website. The toolkit can be used online or can be downloaded for use, but downloading the entire toolkit requires 2GB of computer space.
European Forum Workshop to Focus on Flour Fortification
Join us on 3 October in Gastein
If you’re attending the European Health Forum in Gastein, you’re invited to a workshop led by FFI and the International Federation for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus at 9 a.m. on 3 October in Congress Centre Room 2.
The workshop will outline and address common concerns related to flour fortification as well as the nutritional and economic benefits of fortifying flour. Because foods made with wheat flour are commonly consumed throughout Europe, fortification has the potential to benefit millions of people in the region.
The workshop will highlight the evidence for fortifying flour with folic acid to prevent neural tube defects. EUROCAT, a network of population-based registries covering 1.7 million births in 21 European countries, reported between 1130 and 1344 neural tube defects each year from 2006 through 2009. None of the included countries has a mandate to fortify flour with folic acid, and only one fortifies with iron.
Workshop speakers will include:
- Francesco Branca, Director of Nutrition for Health and Development, World Health Organization
- Scott Montgomery, Director of the Flour Fortification Initiative and former Cargill executive
- Sue Horton, Professor and Chair in Global Health Economics, University of Waterloo
- Bill Dietz, Former Director of the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Margo Whiteford, Vice President, International Federation for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus
See more information about the Forum.
Philippine Tours to Highlight Fortification Process
Register by 30 September
Philippine Foremost Milling Corporation has kindly agreed to host participants of the 3rd Annual Southeast Asia District meeting of the International Association of Operative Millers (IAOM) for a mill visit in Manila on Wednesday, 10 October. The tour will highlight the operational and quality aspects of wheat flour fortification.
This is a great opportunity for millers from across the region to visit a modern mill that has fortified wheat flour for many years. In the Philippines, fortifying wheat flour with vitamins and minerals has been mandatory for more than 10 years.
Separate registration for the visit to the Philippine Foremost Milling Corporation is required. Participation is limited to 80, and will be registered on a first-come, first-served basis. To join the mill visit, send an email by 30 September with the following details to Annoek van den Wijngaart at: email@example.com:
- Job Title
- Email address
- Handphone number
- Preference for 2 p.m. or 4 p.m. mill visit
Only participants who register by the 30 September date will be able to join. See more information about the IAOM meeting.
Did You Attend FFI's First Forum?
74 Countries with Mandates to Fortify Flour
Periodic Update September 2012 Table of Contents
- Championing 'Smarter Futures' in Africa
- Program Monitoring Examples Being Developed
- Updates: Cambodia, ECSA-HC, India, Europe Workshop
- New Toolkit Offers Survey Support
- European Forum Workshop to Focus on Flour Fortification
- Philippine Tours to Highlight Fortification Process
- Did You Attend FFI's First Forum?
- 74 Countries with Mandates to Fortify Flour
24-28 September 2012
Hanoi, Viet Nam
3-6 October 2012
Gastein Valley, Austria
World Health Organization in collaboration with the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) in Geneva, Switzerland
FFI Executive Management Team meeting
15-16 November 2012
Merida, Yucatan, Mexico
International Association of Operative Millers (IAOM) Mideast and Africa District Conference And Expo
5-8 December 2012
Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Centre in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates