Global & Disaster Medicine

Vitamin A deficiency threatens the vision and lives of millions of children in sub-Saharan Africa, but biofortified staple crops could provide a nutritional safety net.

Hopkins/Bloomberg Public Health

“….Yet while supplements work wonders—UNICEF estimates that if every child who needed supplements received them, as many as 1 million lives could be saved each year—even massive distribution campaigns can’t reach everyone who requires them. And industrially fortifying foods does not always work in developing countries, where it can be difficult to identify a commonly eaten food that can be centrally—and reliably—processed. Several Central American countries, for example, have successfully reduced vitamin A deficiency by fortifying sugar with vitamin A; but….attempts to do so in Zambia failed due to flawed fortification processes.….

Biofortification  would allow vulnerable populations to grow and eat their own nutritionally enhanced crops, sidestepping many of the obstacles to supplementation and industrial fortification.

 


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