The Health Ministry of Jordan will start fortifying flour with iron and folic acid to combat iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) in cooperation with the World Health Organisation and UNICEF, reports the Jordan Times .
Saad Kharabsheh, general director of primary healthcare at the Jordan Health Ministry, said on July 29 that iron will be added gradually to flour in some mills throughout the Kingdom, and that the process will be expanded to cover all local mills in the next few years. "We should battle IDA as it is very common in the Kingdom and affecting a big percentage of the population," noted Kharabsheh.
IDA is considered to be one of the most widespread micronutrient deficiencies on earth with over two billion people afflicted. A study conducted in Jordan by the Health Ministry and UNICEF indicated that around 30 per cent of pregnant women and 17 per cent of children suffer from IDA.
"We will decide with the help of the Ministry of Trade and Industry which mills to choose first when the ministry receives the iron," noted Kharabsheh.
In November 2000, the Health Ministry of Jordan presented the results of a study on the public's acceptance of bread prepared from fortified flour. The study showed that Jordanians found that the bread was tasty, with some not detecting a difference in taste. According to Kharabsheh, Oman, Saudi Arabia other Arab countries adopted this strategy around two years ago to overcome IDA but that Jordan was not able to implement it earlier due to limited resources.