By Michael Gwarisa
HEALTH and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa has rubbished claims that the mandatory food fortification drive being spearheaded by government would lead to closure of more milling companies as being suggested by grain millers chair Tafadzwa Msarara , HealthTimes can reveal.
Briefing Journalists this morning, Minister Parirenyatwa said there was nothing wrong with food fortification and government had done enough consulting with grain millers at a national level to enlighten them on advantages fortification has on the citizens.
“We have been with the Grain Millers Association (GMAZ), when i went to Tanzania for a conference on Food Fortification, i actually went with Mr Tafadzwa Msarara, he is aware of these issues. Food fortification will actually benefit our country in terms of health,” said Dr Parirenyatwa.
According the food fortification program, grain millers and manufacturers of cooking oil, sugar, mealie-meal and flour are supposed to add nutrients into their production in a bid to minimise high levels of malnutrition amongst citizens, children in particular.
According to recent reports, Zimbabwe was battling to combat malnutrition in infants due to high levels of poverty being driven by the high unemployment rate and the prevailing economic quagmire.
According to the National Micronutrient Survey (NMS) 2012, women and children are deficient of major micronutrients which are necessary for growth and development.
The NMS says 21 percent of children ages 6 to 59 months were vitamin A deficient, 32 percent of children aged 6 to 59 months were anaemic while 72 percent were iron deficient.
About 24 percent of woman of child-bearing age (15 to 49 years) were vitamin A deficient and 9 percent had night blindness, while 26 percent of child bearing age were anaemic and 62 percent were iron deficient according to NMS.