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Stories from the Field

Browse this page for selected examples of the Micronutrient Initiative's innovative, cost-effective approaches to helping ensure universal access to essential vitamins and minerals, with an emphasis on reaching the most vulnerable and difficult to reach people.

Helping Women Survive: Hands-on Training for Community Workers and Health Staff in Rural Kenya
March 7, 2014
Smart Salt

Jocelyn Makori and Roy Wambua are two of the nearly 60 health facility staff being trained in emergency obstetric care through MI´s Linda Afya Mama Na Mtoto project in Kakamega County, Kenya. Read more...

 

“Want your child healthy and smart? Just consume iodized salt!”
November 27, 2013
Smart Salt

Salt is an incredibly versatile substance. It comes from the sea and sometimes from deep in the earth. Throughout history, salt routes have crisscrossed the globe and salt has even been used as currency. Salt has been, and still is, highly prized for its abilities to season and preserve food, as well as for its antiseptic benefits to health. And, in many places around the world, salt can also make you smarter. Read more...

 

Seeking treatment for diarrhoea closer to home in Senegal
November 25, 2013

N´Goné Sine is sitting with her neighbours in the village of N´Gomène Keur Atou in the Senegalese district of Thiès. She´s trying to get some sewing finished but her work is constantly interrupted. Within the span of 20 minutes, three women come to see her with their sick children. All of these children are suffering from diarrhoea. Read more...

 

MI and Partners Launch "Linda Afya ya mama na Mtoto" in Mumias District of Kenya
July 4, 2013

Thousands of people, colourful dancing and theatre performances and deafening ululations – it was an amazing scene at the community launch of the “Linda Afya ya mama na Mtoto” maternal and newborn health and nutrition project in Bukaya,in the Mumias district of Kakamega County in Western Kenya. Read more...

 

MI´s biggest zinc program is reducing diarrhoea-related deaths in India
June 26, 2013

Renu Kumari is an ASHA, an Accredited Social Health Activist volunteer, is part of a major movement to save lives throughout Bihar, India by making sure children who have diarrhoea are properly treated with zinc and oral rehydration salts (ORS). Read more...

 

Souleymane the Sengalese Salt-repreneur
June 25, 2013

Souleymane was struggling to make ends meet in Dakar, Senegal and decided to return to his home community of Ndiémou to try his hand at salt harvesting. As an entrepreneur, he was chosen to be part of an MI-supported microenterprise project, which included business development training and help guide the loan process to fund his idea to increase salt production and salt iodization. Read more...

 

Harmonizing Salt Iodization Levels in the UEMOA Region
January 28, 2013

Salt iodization has been mandatory in eight countries of the Union Economique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine (UEMOA) for ten years, but no single country has achieved the target of more than 90 percent of households consuming adequately iodized salt. Read more...

 

School girl turns mentor for out-of-school girls to help reduce anaemia levels
January 22, 2013

Nikhat, signifies `smell´ or ‘flavour´; Praveen means `skilled´ or ‘intelligent´. True to her name, Nikhat Praveen, a 17- year-old Class 11 student of the Lodam Higher Secondary School in the Sai Tangar Toli village bordering the Jashpur district of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, is now a role model and peer guide to out-of-school girls in her village on iron and folic acid (IFA) supplementation to help address anaemia. Read more...

Dr. Marion Roche: Thinking Inside the Box to Save Children´s Lives
November 23, 2012

For the next year, Dr. Marion Roche, MI´s Technical Advisor for Behaviour Change Communication, will be talking about something most of us don´t want to hear about – diarrhoea. It´s not a subject most people like to hear about but the more she talks about it, the less of it there will be to deal with. Marion is about to embark on a new research project to improve the way diarrhoea is treated in Guatemalan children, thanks to Grand Challenges Canada, who has named her one of Canada´s Stars in Global Health. Read more...


Maternal and Newborn Health and Nutrition Project: Nurturing Pregnant Women and their Babies in Afar
November 19, 2012

It rained on July 25 in Anderkelo Shet´. In a region of Ethiopia that receives mere inches of rain a year, this was significant. It nurtured the arid soil. It also provided welcome relief from the otherwise persistent glare of the sun and the searing July temperatures that regularly breach the 40 degree mark. Read more...


District administrators´ innovativeness channels efforts to reduce adolescent anaemia
November 19, 2012

In November 2011, Ankit Anand, District Collector of the Jashpur District at Chhattisgarh, was on a supervisory visit to one of the schools in the district. He saw a young girl, about 15 years of age, walking towards her classroom. Her gait was slow and tired, and she looked visibly pale. Once his round was over, he went to the girl´s classroom and enquired about the girl he´d seen. Read more...


Tackling Diarrhoea with Oral Rehydration Solutions and Zinc: A Life-Saving Combination
November 6, 2012

On this sunny morning in the month of May, the first patients arrive at the health centre. They are greeted by Ndèye Diouf. This young woman is a community health worker. As such, her role is to manage the health centre and provide primary care. Among the first patients of the day is Khady, a two-year-old girl who was brought in by her young mother. Khady has diarrhoea. Read more...


Kick-starting Flour Fortification Activities in the Eastern Mediterranean Region
October 26, 2012

A WHO) and Flour Fortification Initiative (FFI) joint Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office (EMRO) Harmonization Workshop for Wheat and Flour Fortification was held in Amman, Jordan, in February 2012. This meeting provided attendees with an excellent opportunity to review regional progress since the last meeting ten years previous, challenges and how best to implement new WHO recommendations for flour fortification. Read more...


South-to-South Mentoring: Stepping Up Salt Iodization to Improve Health
June 21, 2012

Often a little mentoring can go a very long way. For three years, the Micronutrient Initiative (MI) has been facilitating the cross-sharing of program experiences between salt processors in Africa to help build and sustain salt iodization in countries where efforts have stalled. The results of these knowledge-exchanges are turning out to be very promising. Read more...


Pushing Health Outcomes and Gender Roles in Pakistan
March 7, 2012

Samina Kausar and Sapna Wisal oversee the iodization of salt, an important health intervention in areas with high rates of iodine deficiency disorders, malnutrition and poverty. But their work is powerful in another way too. Samina and Sapna are breaking through Pakistan´s gender barriers and motivating other women to join the workforce. Read more...


Transitioning Health Care Delivery in Ethiopia
February 15, 2012
Genet Kebede knows the staff and volunteers who are gathered at the Kebele Meeting Hall in Welenchity, Boset Woreda, Ethiopia well. She has been bringing her son Obama Ashenafi here twice a year so he can be measured, weighed, and receive his dose of vitamin A and other life-saving health interventions. Obama was receiving these though Ethiopia´s Enhanced Outreach Strategy (EOS). Read more...

Reaching the Hard-to-Reach in Bangladesh with Vitamin A
January 23, 2012
In 2008, MI embarked on a campaign with local NGOs who work in hard-to-reach areas to significantly increase the number of children who received health interventions such as vitamin A. A key feature of this program is the active involvement of community groups, who conduct monitoring and are responsible for mobilization of families with unreached children. Read more...

Laxmi Salt: Adding Wisdom to a Simple Staple
December 19, 2011
On a busy street in Ahmadabad, Gujarat, India, Jagdish Keshaubhi Prajapati is running his chakki (salt crushing machine) at Laxmi Salt. Jagdish inherited the small business from his father and started iodizing his salt in 1995 when iodization laws were passed. Read more...

Multi-level Advocacy Leads to Huge Breakthroughs in Salt Iodization in Ethiopia
October 13, 2011
When H E Hassen Abdulkadir was posted as Ethiopian Ambassador to Senegal, he never expected to become so interested in producing and iodizing salt. Hassen is from the Afar region of Ethiopia, a hot desert area in the north-east of the country, wherein lies one of the largest inland saline lakes in the world, Lake Afdera. Salt ponds dotted around the shore of the lake supply almost 100 percent of Ethiopia´s salt. Unfortunately, less than 1 percent of all the salt produced there was being iodized. Read more...

Strengthening the Salt industry in Bangladesh: MI and BSCIC
August 29, 2011
The Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) is a government-owned corporation working to improve, promote and support small businesses. When salt iodization was introduced in the early nineties and made mandatory in Bangladesh, it was a natural fit to make BSCIC the focal point for iodization efforts, as much of the salt industry was made up of small harvesters and refineries. Read more...

Child Health Weeks in Haiti: Bringing essential health services to Haiti´s vulnerable populations
August 5, 2011
In collaboration with the Haitian Ministry of Health´s strategy, the Micronutrient Initiative supported its partners, including UNICEF Haiti, the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), who provided thousands of children under the age of five with vitamin A and de-worming tablets, distributed iodized oil to all women of child-bearing age, and gave zinc and oral rehydration salts to caregivers to treat their child´s diarrhoea. Read more...

GIS Improving Health and Lives in Pakistan by Monitoring Iodized Salt
June 15, 2011
Imagine a tool that could help significantly reduce preventable brain damage, caused by a lack of iodine in the diet, by monitoring the quality of iodized salt produced. In a country with a high incidence of iodine deficiency, such technology would be invaluable for its potential to improve the quality of life for millions. Read more...

Reducing Micronutrient Deficiencies by Training Food Fortification Consultants
June 10, 2011
To offer intensive training on food fortification processes – that was the Micronutrient Initiative´s (MI) and the International Agriculture Centre´s (IAC) joint purpose when they organized the first Food Fortification Technical Experts´ Training Course in Wageningen, Netherlands in March 2002. Read more...

Answering the Call for Chispitas
May 26, 2011
For any health program to be successful it must ensure that the supply of commodities and services can keep up with demand. If supplies run out, a “stock-out” may mean having to turn caregivers away, who may then be discouraged and not return, even when supplies are available again. Read more...

Changing Lives by Awarding the Punjab´s Best Iodized Salt Processors
May 5, 2011
Safwan Hashmi proudly accepted the 2010 Best Salt Processor of the Year Award, on behalf of National Foods Limited, at the annual awards ceremony to recognize the Punjab´s best salt processors held on January 28, 2011 in Lahore, Pakistan. And he has good reason to be proud of his work. By properly iodizing salt that families buy and use, Safwan is helping to reduce preventable brain damage that children and adults in Pakistan would otherwise suffer by not getting enough iodine in their diets. Read more...

Child Health Weeks in Haiti Overcome Obstacles to Save Lives
April 11, 2011
Haiti remains one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world. Recently the country has struggled with more political upheaval, health crises including a cholera outbreak in 2010, severe environmental degradation and hurricanes. Haiti also faced a devastating earthquake in January 2010, which reduced much of its capital to rubble, killing hundreds of thousands and leaving more than a million people displaced and living under tents and tarpaulins. Despite such adversity, there is positive work being done by the Ministry of Public Health (MSPP) for the health and nutrition of Haitians, and the Micronutrient Initiative (MI) is a lead supporter of their Child Health Week (CHW) initiative. Read more...

Food Fortification in Senegal Can Increase Micronutrient Levels
February 25, 2011
For many years, MI has been working with food producers in Senegal to help them fortify their products - specifically cooking oil and wheat flour - with micronutrients. Read more...

Afghanistan: Solving hidden hunger amidst instability
February 16, 2011
The Micronutrient Initiative (MI) works in Afghanistan to deliver several life-saving and life-enhancing micronutrient interventions, including a Vitamin A supplementation program which reaches up to 90% of preschool children. With the support of the Government of Canada through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), MI has partnered the Ministry of Public Health in Afghanistan to implement micronutrient & nutrition programs that are helping to save and improve the lives of women and children in Afghanistan. Read more...

Raising Pakistan´s I.Q with Iodized Salt
December 22, 2010
On December 2008, renowned New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof visited MI´s Pakistan office. While there, he toured some of the local salt mills or “chakkis” that MI works with to ensure salt is iodized. Read more...

Vitamin A Supplementation for Newborns in Nepal
November 26, 2010
At first glance, this photo portrays a simple scene: a mother in Nepal giving something to her day-old child. But what she´s doing may offer a new way to save the lives of newborns around the world. Read more...

Setting the Stage for Zinc Treatment in Nigeria
November 19, 2010
Nigeria has one of the highest child mortality rates on the continent and MI is working to help Nigeria develop effective ways of introducing the use of zinc supplements, as well as oral rehydration, for treating children with diarrhoea, in the hope of preventing some of those child deaths. Read more...

Combining the right technology and revolving funds to build and sustain salt iodization in Senegal
October 25, 2010
For several years, MI has partnered with government departments, industry and producers´ organizations on monitoring, testing and improving iodization methods. In 2005, MI shifted its focus to work primarily with small processors where efforts to adequately iodize had been failing. Read more...

Vitamin A supplementation during Child Health Days in Senegal: Dedicated Volunteers and Good Training Key to Success
October 8, 2010
In May 2010, the Micronutrient Initiative joined a group of health workers in Senegal as they fanned out across the region to deliver a package of life-saving interventions, including deworming tablets, polio vaccines, and vitamin A supplements provided by the Micronutrient Initiative. Read more...

Double Fortified Salt: Smartening and strengthening a school lunch
September 21, 2010
The fortification of salt with iodine has been hailed as one of the world´s great public health advancements. Now a breakthrough technology that allows salt to be double-fortified with iron as well as iodine has created an exciting new opportunity to reach the world with supplemental iron. This community in Tamil Nadu was among the first to experience the benefits of DFS. Adopted by the state government as a tool for learning and for health, millions of children in Tamil Nadu are beneficiaries of this pioneering program. Read more...

Bima, Indonesia´s Only Female Salt Extender Using Salt to Dramatically Improve Lives
September 20, 2010
Layli is the Micronutrient Initiative´s first and only female salt extender in Indonesia. Through her efforts, this iodized salt has been provided to as many as 3.6 million people, including children who would not otherwise have been protected from iodine deficiency disorders. Read more...

Pakistan: Flour Fortification in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Improves Maternal Health
September 16, 2010
Five years after a powerful earthquake devastated many regions in Pakistan, MI continues to help Pakistanis rebuild their lives by improving the health of their families through wheat flour fortification. Read more...

Reaching children in emergencies with lifesaving vitamin A in Afghanistan
July 29, 2010
In April 2010, thousands of volunteers spread out across Afghanistan to give children a better chance at life. They delivered millions of life-saving vitamin A supplements to help reduce child deaths in a country with one of the highest child mortality rates in the world. In mid-October these volunteers will go out again as part of an essential Canadian-supported child health initiative in an effort to give Afghan children a better chance at life. Read more...

Working toward a Sustainable Vitamin A Program in Senegal
July 15, 2010
Senegal has achieved close to universal coverage of vitamin A supplementation, reaching more than 90 per cent of children under the age of five with two doses annually. This, along with other health and nutrition interventions, is helping the country meet the Millennium Development Goals to eradicate extreme hunger and poverty and reduce child mortality. Read more...

Zinc pilot program in Guatemala ready for scale up
June 21, 2010
Annually, up to 1.5 million children die of diarrhoeal disease. While the use of ORS to treat diarrhoea has been used for decades now, recent studies have shown that adding a 10-day course of zinc supplements can not only help children recover faster, it can even save their lives. Read more...

Using zinc to save children´s lives in an emergency setting in India
June 17, 2010
Diarrhoea is one of the leading causes of child deaths around the world and children caught in emergencies are even more vulnerable to the disease, with access to clean drinking water scarce, potentially unsanitary conditions and reduced access to health care services. Read more...

Working with Afghanistan government to produce high-quality iodized salt locally
May 19, 2010
Afghanistan has one of the highest iodine deficiency rates in the world but improved processing capacity in the country could help eliminate the country´s iodine deficiency disorders quickly. Read more...

Successful vitamin A campaign in Kenya increases coverage
March 17, 2010
This video chronicles the Kenyan Ministry of Health and Public Sanitation´s massive one-week vaccination and supplementation campaign in late September. The campaign targeted 1.3 million children who had not been vaccinated against measles since 2006 and was supported by the Micronutrient Initiative and other agencies. Read more...

Female Community Health Volunteers Essential to Success of Iron and Folic Acid Supplementation Program
March 8, 2010
One of Durga Kumari´s biggest responsibilities is the distribution of iron and folic acid tablets to pregnant women under her care and she, along with thousands of volunteers like her, is responsible for the incredible success of the Iron Intensification Program. MI has worked on the program since its inception in 2003, supporting the training of the volunteers, providing education materials, and conducting periodic evaluation studies. We also support the strong monitoring system that the women use to track the micronutrient intake of pregnant women, including IFA tablets, iodized salt and postpartum vitamin A supplementation. Read more...

Working with small-scale salt producers in Senegal to iodize salt
March 8, 2010
Dibocor Sall is a small-scale salt harvester in the village of Farabougou in the Kaolack region of Senegal. The salt he harvests is sold in markets throughout Senegal, at prices lower than the salt from large companies. But there´s something missing in Dibocor´s salt – an adequate amount of iodine, essential to a child´s brain development. Dibocor needs a new way to iodize his salt and the Micronutrient Initiative, harnessing the strength of its partners, including the World Food Programme, UNICEF and Senegal´s Cellule de lutte contre la malnutrition, may have the solution – a sustainable solution for all of Senegal´s small producers. Read more...

Micronutrient Fortification of Cereal Flours at Water Mills in Rural Nepal
March 8, 2010
In 2007, Micronutrient Initiative began working with village millers in rural Nepal to help them add essential vitamins and minerals to the cereal flour they produce. MI developed an innovative flour fortification device for the small traditional watermills in the Lalitpur district of Nepal. Read more...

A salt producer from Ghana eliminates iodine deficiency one bag a time
March 8, 2010
From the corner of his expansive salt fields, overlooking three piles of pink-colored salt, Ernest Osei wonders how he´s going to move his iodization machine. “A restaurant owner came a couple of days ago to buy this salt – he said it would look great on steaks and needed it quick.” The machine sat across a stream, ready to get working. “I´ve gotten used to the iodization process, and now I won´t let a bag out of here without it. It´s part of us.”. Read more...