The Government of Tajikistan last week convened its sixth Joint Annual Review of the National Health Strategy, 2010-2020. GAIN’s Greg S. Garrett, Director of Food Fortification, was invited to present on investing in essential vitamins and minerals as a critical public health strategy for Tajikistan.
More than 300 delegates from the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, UN agencies, donors and non-governmental partners reviewed progress in implementing the strategy which aims to strengthen the national health system and advance public health. The strategy includes nutrition interventions and specifically raises the need to address micronutrient deficiencies.
“We had a discussion on the magnitude of the problem of hidden hunger in Tajikistan, its effects, evidence-based solutions to address micronutrient deficiency including wheat flour fortification and the 10 year costs and benefits related to investing in iron and folic acid fortification in Tajikistan,” says Greg.
“It was noted that the economic cost of doing nothing to address micronutrient deficiencies over 10 years in Tajikistan would be 6.9 billion Tajik Somoni* ($889 million US dollars). However, if all premium and first grade wheat flour consumed in Tajikistan is fortified with iron and folic acid, it will reduce the economic loss by 2.3 billion Tajik Somoni * ($289 million) over that 10 year period.”
Since 2014, GAIN, through the support of USAID, has been working closely with the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Industry, the wheat flour industry and a handful of key stakeholders to support the establishment of a national wheat flour fortification programme in Tajikistan. The project runs until September 2017, and is aiming to ensure the requisite institutional structures, roles and responsibilities are established, including legislation for flour fortification.
Published 28 January 2017
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