Sophia Thompson
Thu, Aug 31, 2023 11:55 PM

Promoting Food Fortification Compliance: A Path to Improving Health in Nigeria

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Promoting Food Fortification Compliance: A Path to Improving Health in Nigeria
The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) recently held a webinar in collaboration with eHealth Africa and Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) to discuss the impact of food fortification compliance in Nigeria. The webinar highlighted the need for increased collaboration between sectors to address micronutrient deficiencies and improve public health. This article explores the importance of food fortification compliance and its potential to reduce malnutrition in Nigeria.

The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), in collaboration with eHealth Africa and the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), recently organized a webinar on the "Impact of Food Fortification Compliance: A Case for Industrial Fortification." The key focus of the webinar was to raise awareness about the importance of fortifying staple foods and the need for compliance among producers.

Dr. Michael Ojo, the Country Director of Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), emphasized the significance of addressing micronutrient deficiency in Nigeria. He highlighted the socio-economic implications of this issue and commended the efforts taken by the government and private sector in promoting food fortification. However, he stressed the importance of collaboration between all sectors to ensure widespread compliance.

Food fortification is a cost-effective strategy to address micronutrient deficiencies. Mr. Penjani Mkambula, the Global Program Lead for Food Fortification at GAIN, discussed the positive impact of fortification in reducing certain disease burdens and improving public health. He explained how fortification has been successfully implemented in high-income countries and called for similar efforts in Nigeria to tackle malnutrition.

Senator Dr. Ibrahim Yahaya Oloriegbe, a Health System Development Expert, highlighted the barriers to addressing malnutrition in Nigeria, such as cultural beliefs, food habits, and socio-economic factors. He stressed the importance of educating traditional institutions and religious leaders, engaging with local governments, and promoting community education on fortified foods to combat micronutrient deficiencies.

Addressing the compliance challenges, Mrs. Aderonke Apim, the Chief Technical Officer and acting state coordinator of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), emphasized the need for a robust regulatory framework and awareness about fortification standards. She also acknowledged the lack of resources and political biases as challenges to achieving food fortification compliance.

Mr. Dapo Arowona, the Head of Research and Quality Assurance at Honeywell Flour, highlighted the initial challenges faced by food producers when fortification was introduced in Nigeria. He discussed the modifications made to mills to accommodate micronutrient premixes and the constraints posed by customs duty on certain essential ingredients. These challenges have hindered full compliance with fortification standards.

In conclusion, the webinar shed light on the importance of food fortification compliance and its potential to improve public health in Nigeria. Collaboration between the government, private sector, and regulatory bodies is crucial to ensure widespread compliance and reduce malnutrition. Efforts to educate communities, religious leaders, and traditional institutions about the benefits of fortified foods will also play a significant role in addressing micronutrient deficiencies.

Source of content: OOO News 2023-08-31 News

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