Resource Centre Gladys Mugambi from the Kenyan Ministry of Health Kenya

Gladys has a Bachelor of Science in Home Economics from the University of Eastern Africa, Baraton. She is also currently completing her Master of Science in Foods, Nutrition and Dietetics at Kenyatta University. After graduation, Gladys worked as a District Nutritionist with The Ministry of Health at Thika District Hospital for 10 years. She then went on to become National Coordinator of the Micronutrient Program including the development of guidelines on Vitamin A supplementation for children under the age of five. She initiated supplementation through Early Childhood Development centres and developed a proposal for funding the National Food Fortification program. She worked as Deputy Head Division of Nutrition and National Food Fortification Project Manager for the Ministry of Health, Kenya. She is now licensed and currently the Registrar at the Kenya Nutritionists and Dieticians Institute (KNDI).


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NATIONAL FORTIFICATION IN KENYA: PARTNERSHIPS WITH ACHIEVEMENTS


Submitted By: Gladys Mugambi from the Kenyan Ministry of Health


The Ministry of Health, in conjunction with partners and industry professionals, has been implementing the national maize, wheat flour and oil fortification project, aimed at improving general nutrition and diet, since 2011. The foods that have been selected for fortification are maize, wheat flour with iron, zinc, vitamin A, folic acid and other B vitamins, and oil, with vitamin A. Specifically, the project aims to reduce the relative prevalence of iron deficiency anaemia and vitamin A deficiency by 1/3 in children under 5 years and women of reproductive age by 2015. The objectives of the project are to achieve annual production of 1, 000, 000, 750, 000 and 200, 000 MT of fortified maize four, wheat flour and vegetable oil respectively, to establish a reliable system for monitoring the quality of fortified food and to raise awareness.


Methods:


The Ministry of Health made an amendment to the Food, Drugs and Chemical Substances Regulations to include mandatory fortification by all relevant food companies. 38 companies signed an agreement with the Ministry to start procurement of equipment, installation and roll out fortified food stuff. The Ministry conducted an assessment to establish industry requirements. A training package was developed by various government institutions. Training was conducted for production, quality assessment and control. A logo that helps to identify the fortified foods was developed and a social marketing and communication campaign was launched.


Results:


This led to an increase in the number of industries that fortify their products-companies that are fortifying their products increased from 4 to 38 between 2011 and 2013, and the number of fortified brands increased from 4 to 150 within the same period of time.


Conclusions:


The Ministry is left with the task of monitoring the quality of fortified foods in the market and at household level. The strong partnership between the government and the private sector contributed to the achievements that have been made this far.