Marion Roche, Samson, K. L., Green, T. J., Karakochuk, C. D., and Homero Martinez, PhD.

Published: January 13, 2021


Nutrition International, through its Right Start program, supported the WIFAS folate randomized control study to answer key questions around the WHO recommended formulation. The study assessed whether the current dose of folic acid of 2.8mg in the WHO guidelines for the weekly supplementation would be sufficient for raising red blood cell folate (RBC folate and plasma folate) to concentrations associated with a reduced risk of an neural tube defects (NTD) affected pregnancy. In this article, authors critically reviewed how the outcomes of this folic acid efficacy trial, and how the evidence generated, could potentially be used to inform WHO WIFAS guidelines for the potential inclusion of this formulation on the Model Essential Medicines List (MEML). This inclusion could enable acceleration of implementing policies and programs to contribute to global anemia and NTD reduction efforts.