- Micronutrient deficiencies are responsible for widespread health problems in the developing world.
- Vitamin and mineral deficiencies cause premature death, disability and reduced work capacity in many parts of the world. Unfortunately, the practice of fortifying staple foods, which is commonplace in industrialized countries, has not yet taken hold everywhere.
To combat the devastating effects of severe vitamin and mineral deficiencies, Helen Keller International is working to make food fortification commonplace in West Africa. We employ three approaches that deliver immediate and lasting results:
- We develop and test channels to distribute point-of-use fortificants that can be utilized in home, such as:
- Sprinkles®, which are powdered preparations of vitamins and minerals packaged in single-dose sachets that can be added to home-cooked meals on a daily basis; and
- Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTF) such as Plumpy’Nut® (a high protein and high energy peanut-based paste), which are distributed to caregivers to treat malnutrition as part of our Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition program.
- We collaborate on large-scale efforts in partnership with the private sector to fortify essential cooking ingredients such as cooking oil and wheat flour with essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, iron and folic acid.
- We engage in extensive social marketing campaigns to targeted populations to promote fortified products, both large-scale and in-home, that can reduce micronutrient deficiencies.