Flour fortification with iron and folic acid - maximum benefits with minimum risks
Chisinau, 6 April 2012 - "Flour fortification with iron and folic acid could reduce maternal mortality, number of children born with malformations and, substantially, improve public health. However, flour fortification does not pose risks to the human health," said Ion Şalaru, senior deputy director of National Center for Public Health, invited, on April 6th, to a meeting with the participation of "Journalists - friends of children ", organized by the Center for Investigative Journalism, with UNICEF support.
Flour fortification with iron and folic acid is a part of the National Program for reducing the number of diseases caused by deficiency of iron and folic acid, in the period 2012-2017, recently approved by a Government decision.
The need to implement this program was dictated by medical realities from Moldova. According to doctors, every second child, under one year old, has anemia. Every third child under 5 years and 28% of women of reproductive age is suffering from anemia.
Dr. Galina Obreja claims that accrue to the daily requirement of iron (14 mg), a person must regularly consume fish, meat and fresh fruit or vegetables. And for covering the need of folic acid, we must use leafy vegetables, such as: parsley, dill, celery, cabbage and others. "But access to these products is limited," said Galina Obreja.
In this context, flour fortification with iron and folic acid is a cheap and effective solution, have noted the experts from the National Center for Public Health.
Flour fortification will not affect the cost of bread, because a ton of this kind of flour will be with only 7.7 MDL more expensive.
Experts mentioned that flour is fortified in more than 50 countries all over the world. In these countries the level of anemia is much lower, compared with Republic of Moldova.
According to the National Program of reducing diseases caused by deficiency of iron and folic acid, from 2013 flour fortification will be compulsory and from 2014 - all bread products will use only fortified flour.
The consequences of the iron and folic acid deficiency influences not only human health, but also the economy. According to the experts, the average of missed earnings, caused by low cognitive capacity and low productivity of workers who perform a medium or heavy manual work, due to iron deficiency, is 0.9% of the annual Gross Domestic Product.