Uganda National Working Group on Food Fortification Receives Ethiopian Delegation
In July, the Ministry of Health (MOH) in Uganda and SPRING/Uganda hosted a high-level delegation from Ethiopia to learn more about Uganda’s experience implementing mandatory food fortification. Uganda’s MOH with help from the National Working Group on Food Fortification (NWGFF) invited the Ethiopian delegation, led by the State Minister of Water, H.E. Ato Kabede Gerba, and including Ministry of Health and Education representatives.
During their week in Uganda, the delegation met with officials from the Office of the Prime Minister, the NWGFF, and SPRING/Uganda and attended the quarterly NWGFF meeting. SPRING/Uganda described to the delegation how districts conduct planning for nutrition activities and the functionality of the District Nutrition Coordination Committees (DNCCs), which SPRING has helped to establish. In the NWGFF meeting, the delegation learned about the great successes Uganda has had in food fortification and were able to ask questions about how Uganda handled regulatory monitoring, as this was identified as a challenge in Ethiopia.
Ms. Sarah Ngalombi, a Senior Nutritionist from Ministry of Health and a NWGFF coordinator, outlined the process of developing and adopting food fortification standards, quality assurance/quality control, and regulatory and monitoring manuals for food fortification. She further noted that, with support from development partners like SPRING, laboratory technical personnel have been trained on analysis of micronutrients in fortified foods. She added that these efforts and a functional NWGFF have helped to tackle most of Uganda’s challenges in these areas.
On sustainability of the program, the meeting was informed that SPRING/Uganda is supporting the Ministry of Health to carry out a study titled “Assessment of Public Sector Readiness for Mandatory Food Fortification and Costing of Food Fortification Activities in Uganda.” Results from this study will be used by the NWGFF to work out a sustainability plan for the food fortification program.
The Ethiopian delegation praised Uganda’s progress towards the implementation of the Mandatory Food Fortification Program and outlined some of the key lessons that they were carrying home.
Pictured: Mixing fortificant with maize flour.