Microbial Resources to Safeguard Future Food Security.
Micronutrient malnutrition (MNM) is a major public health issue in the developed world, but it is even more important in low-income, developing countries. The main forms of MNM include vitamin A, iron or iodine deficiency, but folic acid, vitamin D, selenium and zinc deficiencies, although less recognized, are important as well. A lack of those micronutrients represents a major threat to the health and development of populations, particularly children and pregnant women. They account for 7.3 percent of the global burden of disease.
In Sub-Saharan Africa where the prevalence of malaria, HIV, diarrhoea diseases and other infectious conditions is high, MNM increases their severity and has a high health impact on children and pregnant women. In Africa, the prevalence of anaemia in pregnant women is 52% percent and is a major factor that contributes to high maternal mortality rates. Vitamin D deficiency, rickets, osteomalacia and thyroid deficiency are highly prevalent chronic conditions
in low income developing countries.
In 2002, Nigeria successfully mandated a salt iodization program and the fortification of maize and cooking oil with vitamin A, and sugar and flour with iron. The Tanzanian government passed mandatory food fortification legislation in July 2011, and it provides a tax exemption for imported premix for its national fortification program. Such efforts by African countries are playing a vital role in addressing MNM in Africa.
The following commentary is, thus, addressed to policy makers and international donors
interested in advancing the health of the African population. In Africa, malnutrition affects all
age groups, but young children, women of reproductive age and the elderly tend to be among
those most at risk of developing micronutrient deficiencies. Micronutrient malnutrition (MNM) is widespread in industrialized nations, but more so in low income, developing regions of the world