NAFDAC calls for expansion of food fortification programme
During the National Fortifica¬tion Alliance (NFA), meeting in Lagos, the Acting Director-General of the Agency, Mrs. Yetunde Oni, disclosed that With the apparent ef¬fect of malnutri¬tion among Nige¬rian children, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), has called for ex¬pansion of the country’s food fortification programme, noting that out of the about 21 widely known mi¬cronutrients, including vita¬min A, Iron, Iodine, Zinc and folic acid, five of them are of public health significance, explaining that these micronutrients contribute significantly to good health and are necessary for proper growth and development of the body for survival.
According to her, infants, young children, teenagers, pregnant and breast feeding mothers are prone to becom¬ing malnourished; hence, re¬quire additional nutrients all the time, and she also revealed that one in four children under the age of five suffers from vitamin A de¬ficiency, and that 31 per cent of mothers in Nigeria are io¬dine deficient.
“Available statistics show that nutrition contributes to over 50 per cent child mor¬tality in Nigeria. These statis¬tics make it unimaginable to question the importance of micronutrients to achieving the socio economic develop¬ment of any country and at¬taining the Sustainable Devel¬opment Goals,”
The NAFDAC boss further disclosed that in order to meet set United Nations (UN) tar¬gets, the agency developed the Vitamin A Food Fortification Regulations in 2005, adding that amongst other contents, the regulation is addressing the prohibition of manufacture, importation, exportation, advertisement, distribution and sale of any designated food vehicle that is not fortified with vitamin A and other elements as pre¬scribed, and control of adver¬tisement of vitamin A forti¬fied foods- which is to be censored and given permit before use.
Acknowledging the sup¬port of international organizations and relevant develop¬ment partners such as Global Alliance for Improved Nutri¬tion (GAIN), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Micronutrient Initiative (MI), she said that Nigeria has attained remarkable suc-cess in addressing micronu¬trient deficiency challenges.
The successes, according to her, include the certifica¬tion of Nigeria as Universal Salt Iodization (USI) com¬pliant in November/Decem¬ber 2005; packaging of ta¬ble salt in smaller pack sizes of 1Kg, 500g, 250g and 100g; and identification and pro¬curement of iodine test kits for rapid quality monitoring and upgrading of a laborato¬ry for Reference Standards at the University College Hospi¬tal (UCH), Ibadan as Iodine Laboratory for Nigeria.