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Open Access Thriving public–private partnership to fortify cooking oil in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) to control vitamin A deficiency: Faire Tache d'Huile en Afrique de l'Ouest

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Background. In sub-Saharan Africa, more than 42% of children are at risk for vitamin A deficiency, and control of vitamin A deficiency will prevent more than 600,000 child deaths annually. In the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), an estimated 54.3% of preschool-age children are vitamin A deficient and 13% of pregnant women have night blindness.

Objective: To project the achievements of this West African coalition.

Methods: This article documents the achievements, challenges, and lessons learned associated with the development of a public–private partnership to fortify vegetable oil in West Africa through project reports and industry assessments.

Results. National-level food consumption surveys identified cooking oil as a key vehicle for vitamin A. Stakeholders therefore advocated for the production of fortified vegetable oil at large scale, supported industrial assessments, and reinforced the capacity of cooking oil industries to implement vitamin A fortification through effective coordination of public and private partnerships tied with standards, regulations, and social marketing. Strong alliances for food fortification were established at the regional and national levels. Stakeholders also developed policies, adopted directives, built capacity, implemented social marketing, and monitored quality enforcement systems to sustain fortification for maximum public health impact. The synergy created resulted from the unique and complementary core competencies of all the partners under effective coordination. The initiative began with the 8 UEMOA member countries and now includes all 15 countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), plus Cameroon, Tanzania, and Mozambique, forming a sub-Saharan Africa-wide initiative on food fortification. All members of the Professional Association of Cooking Oil Industries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (AIFO-UEMOA) now fortify edible oil with vitamin A. Through multisector cooperation, an estimated 70% of the population has access to vitamin A–fortified edible oil in participating countries.

Conclusions. Sustainable fortification of cooking oil is now a reality in all UEMOA countries.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2012

More about this publication?
  • Established in 1978, the Food and Nutrition Bulletin (FNB) is a peer-reviewed journal published quarterly by the Nevin Scrimshaw International Nutrition Foundation.

    The focus of the journal is to highlight original scientific articles on nutrition research, policy analyses, and state-of-the-art summaries relating to multidisciplinary efforts to alleviate the problems of hunger and malnutrition in the developing world.

    Food and Nutrition Bulletin's 2012 Impact Factor: 2.106

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