UNICEF Consultant, Republic of Kazakhstan
24 October 2017
FFI: What health outcomes do you expect fortification to improve in your country?
Tazhibayev: Kazakhstan is already certified and recognized by international organizations for successfully implementing universal salt iodization. The prevalence of iodine deficiency is already significantly decreased in Kazakhstan. Wheat flour fortification is still not as successful as salt iodization, but fortification process is progressing, and we expect that it will decrease the burden of anemia and folic acid deficiency in the country.
FFI: What are the main components to a successful fortification program where you live?
Tazhibayev: The existence of a law on mandatory salt iodization and wheat flour fortification; salt and flour producers have a good experience on food fortification; a quality assurance and quality control system of food fortification has been established; decision makers, salt and flour producers, and the public are positive about food fortification.
FFI: What are the greatest challenges you have encountered in planning or implementing fortification programs? And how did you address those challenges?
Tazhibayev: Until now, the problem of centralized procurement of premix for flour fortification has not been solved, which makes it difficult to achieve sustainability of wheat flour fortification. Kazakhstan is an exporter of flour, and importing countries mostly order unfortified flour.
FFI: What can we do, as a society, to continue raising the fortification efforts?
Tazhibayev: Support in conducting of impact assessment surveys of food fortification would be very helpful.