ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN – One of the largest fortification programs developed to combat malnutrition in Pakistan was launched on September 8, 2016.
A partnership between the Micronutrient Initiative (MI) and Mott MacDonald, with funding from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), the Food Fortification Programme in Pakistan (FFP) is a five-year country-wide large-scale fortification program, which aims to support national efforts to improve nutrition, in particular for women and children.
The program aims to reduce by a third iron deficiency anaemia, and by a quarter vitamin A deficiency in women and children by increasing the micronutrient content of flour and edible oil or ghee through fortification. FFP also strives to reduce neural tube defects among newborns – protecting them from paralysis or other life threatening or limiting disabilities.
MI, the lead technical partner for this program, will provide technical support to commercial wheat flour and edible oil/ghee mills. Technical assistance will also be provided to apply quality control procedures at both the production and market levels to ensure adequate fortification. Other components of the program include technical support to the government’s food fortification regulatory system, support to increase awareness and generating evidence to formulate relevant policies to combat malnutrition in Pakistan.
MI President and CEO Joel Spicer spoke at the launch, which took place in Islamabad in the presence of Joanna Reid, the head of DFID Pakistan, as well as National Food Security and Research Minister Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan, and State Minister Health Saira Afzal Tarar.
“Malnutrition is at crisis levels globally and in Pakistan in particular. It is clear that leadership at all levels is needed to make nutrition a top development priority. FFP demonstrates the ambition and approach we need to see more of, if we’re going to turn the tide. Pakistan and the UK have set a high bar for others to aspire to.”
While in Pakistan, Mr. Spicer also met with several representatives from NGOs and the government, including a group of female parliamentarians, to discuss the importance of prioritizing and investing in nutrition ― especially for women and girls.