Malawi spends $5m for Vitamin A sugar fortification programme

Malawi government wants to address Vitamin A deficiency in children through the national Vitamin A Fortification program and has so far spent US$5 million in the process of fortifying sugar with Vitamin A in Malawi.

Secretary for Nutrition, HIV and AIDS in the Office of the President and Cabinet Edith Mkawa, said government is planning to have 90 percent of households that use sugar in the country to consume adequately fortified sugar with vitamin A by 2015.

“As a way of dealing with the poor nutrition and high micronutrient deficiency, the Malawi Government and its development partners set aside the project of fortifying sugar with vitamin A,” said Mkawa during a news conference on Tuesday in the capital Lilongwe.

“Vitamin A is a nutrient required by everybody on a daily basis,” she explained.

PS for Nutrition,HIV and AIDS in the Ofice of President and Cabinet,Edith Mkawa delivering her speech,irish ambassodor Liz Higgins look on.-Photo by Mirriam kaliza

Mkawa added: “Sugar is one of the commodities that is being used almost every day by everyone in the country so there is need to have it fortified so that Vitamin A deficiency becomes a thing of the past.”

She disclosed that in Malawi 22percent of children under the age of five, 8.5 percent of school going children, 1.6 percent of non-pregnant women as well as 0.2 percent of men have a Vitamin A deficiency

The project which started in 1990 is set to be launched in Nchalo in Chinkwawa Thursday, October 11, 2012.

Malawi government is getting support from Irish Aid, UNICEF and USAID.

Irish Ambassador to Malawi Liz Higgins said for Malawi to concur Vitamin A deficiency it requires “the coordinated response from the government, development partners as well as civil societies for the country to be free of the Vitamin A deficiency since good nutrition is central to development.”

Sugar fortification is a process of adding Vitamin A to sugar to increase its intake among consumers every time they use sugar in their diet.

Food grade Vitamin A is added to sugar at the factory in such a way as to provide fortified sugar that is similar in physical and sensorial.

Since April 2012, all sugar produced and sold in Malawi is being fortified with Vitamin A.—(Additional reporting by Mary Makhiringa, Mana)

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