ISLAMABAD: Ministry of Planning Development and Reform with the support of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and the Oxford Policy Management on Friday launched the Fortification Assessment Coverage Toolkit (FACT) Survey 2018.
This survey was undertaken to determine the coverage and likely contribution of fortified foods to micro-nutrient intake among women of reproductive age between 15-49 years and children under five. The survey was also conducted to provide data on household coverage and consumption of fortified foods and availability and quality of fortified foods in the markets.
It was observed that salt, oil and ghee were universally consumed by all households (100%) in the three provinces. Coverage of fortifiable salt was relatively high as 84% of household in Balochistan, 75% in Punjab and 98% in Sindh. The coverage of fortifiable oil or ghee was nearly universal in all provinces (98% to 100%) while the wheat flour was also universally consumed 100% in Balochistan and Punjab while 92% in Sindh.
The coverage of the fortifiable wheat flour was considerably lower among households in all three provinces as 52% in Balochistan, 31% in Punjab and 63% in Sindh. Among households that reported consuming a fortifiable form of wheat flour, produced by Chakki mills accounted for 32% of the fortifiable flour consumed in Balochistan, 53% in Punjab and 60% in Sindh.
Planning Commission’s Food Security and Climate Change Member Dr Azeem Khan said that food fortification has been a significant public health intervention as the diversity of the food production as well consumption was low and expensive. He assured that the findings and recommendations of this survey would be incorporated in the 12th five-year plan to overcome malnutrition.
Chief Nutrition at Ministry of Planning and SUN Focal Person Muhammad Aslam Shaheen said that this survey would help to document the accomplishments of the ongoing food fortification programmes, identify the potential barriers, provide baseline for future food fortification programmes, guide the current large-scale food fortification programme and help to refine and rework the project interventions in the light of information received from both the service providers and end users.
The FACT survey will provide representative data both at a national and provincial level and share information of at high-risk populations including women of reproductive age and children in Pakistan. Nutrition Director at Ministry of Planning Dr Baseer Achakzai highlighted that the survey provided evidence that fortification of salt and oil and ghee could have a large impact on the intakes of iodine and vitamin A among young children and women of reproductive age in Balochistan, Punjab, and Sindh.