To improve the nutritional status of tribal population in selected tribal geographies.
Village-level wheat flour fortification programme was implemented in two tribal blocks of Rajasthan province in India, comprising 90 villages. Two hundred small, village-level mills were included for intervention. The project focused on building the capacity of 200 village-level wheat flour millers on appropriate fortification and on creating awareness about the need and importance of consuming fortified wheat flour, in these intervention blocks. In order to assess the impact of this intervention, baseline and endline evaluations were also conducted. Millers capacity was consistently built and strengthened over a three-year period, and a positive environment was created within the communities, in order to ensure sustainability, post the project phase.
All the millers acquired the skills to appropriately fortify the wheat flour with Iron, Folic Acid and Vitamin B12. More than 6000 Households benefitted from this intervention. Community was skeptical initially, but accepted and adopted wheat flour fortification as a norm. Consistent use of fortified wheat flour had a very positive impact on the health of people. Within a few weeks of consumption, people, especially the women, felt stronger and healthier. A significant shift of anemic women from moderate anemia level to mild anemia level was observed. Percentage reduction of 62% was observed among women suffering from moderate anemia. More than 70% of sample population agreed to pay an additional amount towards fortification.
If systems support capacity building and monitoring, village-level wheat flour fortification could prove to be an effective strategy to combat anaemia.