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Testing double-fortified salt with iodine and folic acid in Ethiopia

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Nutrition International has launched a new three-year project in collaboration with the Government of Ethiopia, the University of Toronto, the University of California at Davis, and the International Federation for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus, which aims to develop, test and bring to market double-fortified salt with iodine and folic acid in Ethiopia.

Ensuring that women have adequate folic acid intake before conception reduces the risks of folate-deficiency anaemia and the number of births affected by neural tube defects (NTD) which can result in early neonatal deaths or long-term disabilities. The prevalence of NTD is more than eight times higher in Ethiopia compared to other African nations. Across the country, diets lack foods rich in folate, with folate insufficiency among women varying from 60-100% between regions.

A sustainable solution for double-fortified salt

The Government of Ethiopia has mandated salt iodisation since 2011 and adequately iodised salt currently reaches more than 90% of the population, reducing the prevalence of iodine deficiency disorders such as goitre. Double-fortified salt with iodine and folic acid has the potential to be a sustainable at-scale solution for increasing the population’s intake for both iodine and folate.

More than 20 years ago, double-fortified salt with iodine and folic acid was developed in a laboratory at the University of Toronto. This project will support its production within Ethiopia using the same Central Iodization Facilities that were created to iodise salt mechanically.

The project is designed to kickstart the eventual move to replace all iodised salt in the country with double-fortified salt and will test its acceptability and biological effect in the country’s population, engaging government institutions and salt producers in Ethiopia and sharing findings with international organisations and other relevant stakeholders.

For more information, please see: https://www.nutritionintl.org/news/all-news/nutrition-international-and-partners-launch-project-to-test-new-double-fortified-salt-product-intended-to-reduce-the-risk-of-neural-tube-defects-in-ethiopia/

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Testing double-fortified salt with iodine and folic acid in Ethiopia. Field Exchange 68 , November 2022. p8. www.ennonline.net/fex/68/testingdoublefortifiedsaltwithiodineandfolicacidinethiopia

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