Several recent studies and a noteworthy international conference are increasingly pointing to the global gap that exists in measuring fortification program compliance, that is whether or not fortified foods actual contain the correct amount of vitamins and minerals needed to have a nutritional impact.
As one means of addressing this gap, in 2011, with support from Stanford University’s Global Management Immersion Program (GMIX), PHC designed a fortification-specific data management system, what we call Fort-MIS. The goal of the system is to provide a streamlined and standardized approach to collecting inspection data that can inform national policy and identify programming gaps needed to achieve optimal nutritional impact. The system allows us (and governments) to track whether fortified foods actually contain the correct amount of vitamins and mineral as stipulated in the national standard. (Therefore, you will see some of this information repeated in our Measurement section).
The system, used throughout most of PHC’s programs, can be adapted to any country-specific situation and used for any fortified staple foods found in the country. Graphs automatically generate number of samples collected and range of test results disaggregated by various selected categories such as producer or border point. Since adoption, the Government of Malawi, which is furthest along in using this approach, has compiled and maintained a national monitoring dataset on fortified vehicles more effectively than previous methods allowing program managers to correct program shortcomings before impact studies occur.
Since this system holds the potential to be scaled globally to address global gap in understanding compliance, we are working with partners such as the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and the Food Fortification Initiative (FFI) to standardize key indicators and move the system to a more user-friendly online platform. Stay tuned for future work in this area!
An example of the data the Fort-MIS can generate is provided below. They system becomes completely owned and operated by each government that decides to adopt it.
Average Salt Iodization Level by Custom Station: Displays the average level of iodine in imported salt samples (in ppm) collected by Malawi’s Bureau of Standards (MBS) from key custom stations. The number of samples collected and tested per custom station is also displayed. This is national level data from 2008 to 2010.
Average Salt Iodization Level by Quarter: Displays the national evolution of average salt iodization levels from imported salt samples collected from custom stations by quarter from Quarter 3 of 2008 through Quarter 4 of 2010. The number of samples tested per quarter is also displayed.