Private millers in vitamin fortification

Nigeria's flour millers, with support from the federal government and international partners, have begun a nutrition initiative which, they say, would reduce the incidence of Vitamin A-induced diseases in women and children.

Since 1 September, flour millers have begun Vitamin A fortification of all flour products, an initiative that is being duplicated among vegetable oil and sugar producers, UNICEF said in a press release on Tuesday.

Vitamin A fortification is the "process of industrial addition of Vitamin A to an appropriate food vehicle which contains little or no Vitamin A".

UNICEF statistics showed that the vitamin deficiency contributed to 25 percent of infant, child and maternal mortality in Nigeria, due to reduced resistance against protein-energy malnutrition, respiratory infections, malaria, diarrhoea and measles.

The vegetable oil and sugar industries are also expected to launch the process by the end of year.

The initiative relies on the private sector and has prompted the head of the Consumer Protection Organization to call on the industry to from henceforth respect the new manufacturing demands and not lower their standards.

The partners, which include USAID and the World Health Organization, hope that the cost-effective strategy will improve the health of children and mothers.