Monitoring the nutrient content of fortified foods is a critical component to the success of any fortification program, yet limited compliance data exists globally. Of the data that does exist, less than half of samples are adequately fortified. The objective is to enable food quality data from inspectors at domestic facilities, border points, and markets to be collated, housed, and analyzed by government staff for efficient tracking of compliance and action against non-compliance.
Following a request to address Malawiâs challenge of collecting, organizing, and acting upon fortification data, a monitoring tool was designed to house all compliance information as a stand-alone platform. Malawi-specific data informed its creation; individuals from Ministry of Health were trained on its use. The tool can be adapted to any country setting.
Since adoption, the government has continued to compile and maintain a national monitoring dataset on fortified vehicles more effectively than previous methods. User-friendly charts and time specific summaries are generated for quick decision-making. District officers have been motivated to send samples on time.
The tool offers a scalable opportunity to address the global gap that exists in capturing country-specific fortification compliance information for local use and regional surveillance. It has proven, in Malawi, to display results in a rapid and visually powerful format allowing managers to correct program shortcomings before impact studies occur. It has also revealed more inherent monitoring challenges around funds for testing and lack of government incentives, which must be addressed in a realistic manner before effective compliance can be achieved.