To test the feasibility and scalabilityof the rural food fortification before scaling it up to other rural areas in Tanzania.
We carried out a cross-sectionalevaluation study on pilot project to test (i) fortification of maize flour at hammer mill level using scooping method and (ii) home fortification at householdlevel using micronutrient powders(MNPs) containing 15 esential nutrients for children aged 6-23months.Both quantitative and qualitative data were collectedthrough documentary review, household questionnaire, In-depth interviews and measurement of hemoglobin. 1021 women/caretakers were enrolled from six districts with 848(83.1%) from rural settings.Out of 1086 hammermills identified in allsix districts, 123 purposive random sample of mills were also enterviewed during the study.
Community awareness on micronutrients increased from 33% at baseline (in 2013) to 54%after the study. More than half (59%) of the participants had knowledge about food fortification while 26% admitted to use MNPs. Most (91%) of the mill owners, were aware about importance of fortifying maize flour, majority (89%) were aware about micronutrient premix and 61% about MNPs. Out of 114 mills found operating on the day of survey, 68% had fortified maize flour. Misconceptions and myths exist among communities. There was untimely supplies and low social marketing. Majority (64.4%) of children aged 6-24 months had anaemia compared to 45%in the baseline while women aged15-49y, only 27% had anemia.
Combination of factors like timely availability of fortification supplies implemented concurrently with high advocacy,fortification of maize flour in rural Tanzania is promising to be successful. High anaemia prevalence could be attributed by other causes of anaemia.