_-50We are deeply passionate about ending micronutrient deficiencies in the developing world.

We aim to do this by providing technical support to governments, private industry, and partner agencies in the design and implementation of large-scale and small-scale food fortification programs.

We’re backed by The Life You Can Save, Giving What We Can and rigorous evidence on the impact fortification programs can have on the health of individuals and national economies.

Food fortification refers to the practice of adding essential vitamins and minerals (such as iodine, vitamin A, iron, folic acid, and zinc) often missing from a population’s diet to commonly consumed staple foods (such as maize and wheat flour, cooking, and salt) during the production process to improve the food’s nutritional quality while providing a public health benefit[1].

_-25To learn why micronutrients are so important for healthy development and what the consequences of deficiency are (everything from being the leading cause of preventable blindness and mental disability in children to bolstering the immune system and preventing death during childbirth, click here.

A systematic evaluation (Bhutta, et al.) of 76 studies and 41 reports concluded that fortification of staple foods with vitamin A, iron, and iodine can be very effective at improving the health of individuals in low and middle income countries. The study found that fortifying with vitamin A reduces the prevalence of vitamin A deficiency in children less than five years of age from 33.3% to 25.7% globally; effectively fortifying with iron is expected to reduce anemia by 14%; salt iodization has reduced goiter by 40%; and fortifying with folic acid has reduced severe birth defects known as neural tube defects (NTDs) by 40-50%[2].

For evidence of further impact, see the Food Fortification Initiative’s (FFI) review of iron efficacy studies, as well as Martorell et al.’s 2014 Effectiveness evaluation of the food fortification in Costa Rica: impact on anemia prevalence and hemoglobin concentrations in women and children published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, and De Wals et al.’s 2007 paper on Reduction in Neural-Tube Defects after Folic Acid Fortification in Canada, published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

When top economists, including five Nobel laureates, analyzed the costs and benefits of various public health interventions, their conclusion was that fortification is one of the most cost-effective options[3],[4],[5]. Every $1 spent directly on fortifying food results in a benefit to the country’s economy of $9.

The cost per person per year can range from US$0.002 to US$0.97[6] depending on nutrients added and food vehicle chosen, with a benefit cost ratio ranging from 9:1 to 30:1[7], derived principally through health care savings.

Today, fortification is widely recognized as one of the most cost-effective approaches to reduce vitamin and mineral deficiencies and improve the health of populations and national economies[8].

If implemented properly, fortification has proven to have a return on investment that is one of the highest development dividends that exist today[9].

By placing a Country Coordinator along side government staff in each country of operation, we provide sustained guidance and support throughout the design and implementation process until a program is owned and operated by the country. This allows for the program’s return on investment to be guaranteed into the future.

To learn more about how PHC differentiates itself from other similar groups, click here.

 

[1] Allen et al., 2006

[2] Sight and Life Supplement. The#FutureFortified Global Summit on Food Fortification. Event Proceedings and Recommendations for Food Fortification Programs. 2016.

[3] http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/sites/default/files/bpp_fortification.pdf

[4] http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/guide-giving/gtg-micronutrient-fortification-and-biofortification-challenge

[5] http://jn.nutrition.org/content/136/4/1068.full

[6] Dary O. The cost of food enrichment. Nutriview. 2010:1;2-4.

[7] Sight and Life Supplement. The#FutureFortified Global Summit on Food Fortification. Event Proceedings and Recommendations for Food Fortification Programs. 2016.

[8] Hoddinott et al., 2013; Horton, 2006; Baltussen et al., 2004; Boy et al., 2009; Christian, 2010; Semba, 2012; Victoria, et al., 2008; Citeri et al., 2002

[9] Horton et al., 2008