USAID seeks solutions to malnutrition in Tajikistan

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Dushanbe, Tajikistan, May 28, 2014 -  The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) hosted a workshop in Dushanbe titled Scaling-Up Flour Fortification in Tajikistan.

USAID/Central Asian Republics’ Regional Mission Director, Jonathan Addleton, and Dr. Sherali Rahmattulloev, Head of the Maternal and Child Health Department of the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, opened the workshop. Policymakers, industry representatives, and international and national partners discussed how flour fortification and other nutrition interventions can reduce high levels of micronutrient malnutrition in Tajikistan with a particular focus on Khatlon Province, the U.S. government’s Feed the Future initiative target area.

Tajikistan faces major issues with malnutrition: 26 percent of children under five are stunted (low height-for-age)  as a result of chronic nutritional deficiency starting before birth; and 24 percent of women of reproductive age in Tajikistan suffer from anemia.  These conditions have far-reaching consequences for the health and economic prosperity of the people of Tajikistan.

GAIN, funded by USAID, conducted national wheat flour situational analysis; and formative research on consumption practices, awareness, and behaviors related to nutrition in Khatlon Province, one of the most highly burdened areas in the country for micronutrient malnutrition.

Speaking ahead of the workshop, GAIN’s Director of Large Scale Food Fortification, Greg Garrett, said: “Despite the evidence that micronutrient fortification of staples and condiments is one of the more effective ways to prevent micronutrient malnutrition, wheat flour fortification has not become common milling practice in Tajikistan. USAID and GAIN hope to facilitate a dialogue on scaling up nutrition interventions, with a focus on fortification in Tajikistan, working with government, industry, and other donors.”

USAID/Central Asian Republics Regional Mission Director, Jonathan Addleton, said: “USAID hopes that the key findings of these assessments will facilitate informed discussions and decisions among policymakers, donors, and partners to maximize impact in meeting the urgent need to improve nutrition among the people of Tajikistan.

The assessments on flour fortification conducted by GAIN is one of the many assistance projects made possible by the American people. Since 1992, USAID has invested over $360 million in programs that support Tajikistan's democratic institutions, health care, education, and economic growth.

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