Welcome to a United Call to Action
on Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies
|The report was prepared by the Micronutrient Initiative, in partnership with the Flour Fortification Initiative, USAID, GAIN, WHO, The World Bank, and UNICEF, with support of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and shows micronutrients are the best low-cost solution to improved health in the developing world.
Full Report (PDF): English, French
Summary (PDF): English, French, Chinese
Report Launches Around the World
Around the world, billions of people live with vitamin
and mineral deficiencies
South Africa's fortification programme
Vitamins and minerals are vital components of human
health, advancing physical and intellectual development in important
ways and are critical to meeting the Millenium Development Goals. However, billions of people currently live with deficiencies in a
range of crucial vitamins and minerals, also known as micronutrients - including vitamin A, iodine,
iron, zinc and folate. The results of these deficiencies are
- Vitamin A deficiency annually claims the lives of
almost 670,000 children under five.
- Iron deficiency anaemia during pregnancy is
associated with 115,000 deaths each year, accounting for one fifth of
total maternal deaths.
World’s best investment for development
The benefit:cost ratio of micronutrient programming is
unmatched by any other large-scale health or economic intervention. In
2008, the Copenhagen Consensus panel considered 30 options and ranked
the provision of micronutrients as the world’s best investment for
Cost-effective solutions are ready to be scaled-up
Working together, national governments, donors, science
and industry have made huge strides in delivering cost-effective nutrition
solutions to vulnerable populations.
- Fortifying flour and other staple crops with vitamin
A, folic acid, iron and zinc has been an effective means of reducing
anaemia and birth defects.
- Salt iodization reduces goitre and improves cognitive
development. In communities where iodine intake is sufficient, IQ is
shown to be on average 13 points higher than in iodine-deficient
- Where a population is at risk of vitamin A
deficiency, providing young children with vitamin A supplementation
every six months reduces mortality by an average of 23%.
- Zinc supplementation, given with oral rehydration
therapy, can reduce the duration and severity of acute diarrhoea, one
of the leading causes of death of children.