National fortification was officially launched in Tanzania on May 16th, 2013. We had the privilege to finally present Project Healthy Children’s small-scale fortification device to His Excellency, Dr. Jakaya Kikwete, President of Tanzania. After the demonstration of this “special machine”, President Kikwete addressed the large crowd, pressing for nutrition advocacy at all levels of government. Most importantly, he announced that the government will be working with rural millers to fortify their flour using “special machines” in an effort to combat micronutrient deficiencies at the village level.
The President went on to say that, “The government is aware that a large number of children suffering from malnutrition are in rural areas and we also know that they use milled flour. So the government, through this campaign, will reach them through the installation of the devices at the mills.”
Held in Dar es Salaam, the launch was attended by all of Tanzania’s Regional Commissioners and government leaders. Also in attendance were numerous development partners including UNICEF, WFP, WHO, USAID, UKAID, IRISH AID, AMB. of IRELAND, WORLD BANK, and GAIN, as well as private entrepreneurs involved in food fortification initiatives.
President Kikwete closed with a statement, which was more of a challenge if not a direct order: “This is an important device for our rural people, and exactly what people in these rural areas have needed! Are you capable of scaling up production to supply a device for every mill in Tanzania?”
The President’s call to action was heard, with all of Tanzania’s Regional Commissioners making commitments to advocate for improved nutrition throughout the countries 25 regions. There is now a unified understanding of the importance to combat malnutrition, not only at the national level, but also at the vital district levels and in rural areas, home to the most at-risk population.