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The Hague, the Netherlands
A woman cooking with fortified flour.
Photo Credit: Morgana Wingard/USAID

USAID Advancing Nutrition participated in the Micronutrient Forum's 6th Global Conference, from October 16–20, 2023 online and in the Netherlands. This global event is a platform for researchers, funders, policymakers, program managers, the private sector, and civil society advocates to disseminate the latest evidence and insights into the complex causes of anemia and micronutrient measurement.

The Micronutrient Forum unites delegates across disciplines to advance evidence-based agendas that promote nutrition and strengthen resilience. USAID Advancing Nutrition technical experts presented posters, delivered oral presentations, and guided discussions on anemia, large-scale food fortification, and dietary diversification. 

Sponsored Symposia

Large-Scale Food Fortification: Data for Decision Making—Contextual Assessment Methods of Diets, Markets, Industry, and Policy

Tuesday, October 17 | 3:30–5:00 PM CEST | King Willem Alexander Hall

Presenters: Monica Woldt, senior technical advisor; Musonda Mofu, consultant

This session provided a forum for attendees to learn about USAID’s work on practical and feasible assessment methods to inform large-scale food fortification programming. USAID partners presented their own work and shared their lessons learned.

Prevention and Control of Micronutrient Deficiencies Through Food and Health Systems Actions: What Will Be Required to Achieve Complementary Efforts?

Friday, October 20 | 7:00–8:15 AM CEST | Amazon Hall

Presenters: Silvia Alayon, director, measurement; Ken Brown, consultant

This program highlighted recent estimates of the global prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies globally and explored possible approaches to achieve better complementarity of actions across food and health systems to prevent and address micronutrient deficiencies. 

Resilience and Ecological Approach to Anemia: Interaction with Members of the Anemia Task Force and the HEmoglobin MEasurement Study

Friday, October 20 | 1:45–3:15 PM CEST | Mississippi Hall

Presenters: Denish Moorthy, senior technical advisor; Omar Obeid, Dora Ines Mazariegos, and Layal Jaafar, grantees

This session highlighted the contributions and products of USAID investments to our understanding and assessment of anemia and interventions to prevent and reduce it. Attendees learned about the Anemia Task Force’s ecological approach to anemia and a six-country, multi-institutional research collaboration on hemoglobin assessment. 

Oral Presentations

Assessing Accuracy and Precision of HemoCue Models and Blood Samples Types for Hemoglobin Determination: A Multi-Country Study

Part of: Getting It Right—Measuring Hemoglobin and Defining Anemia

Tuesday, October 17 | 10:30 AM–12:00 PM CEST | King Willem Alexander Hall

Presenter: Laura Hackl, consultant

A laboratory-based multi-site study compared hemoglobin measurements from venous, pooled capillary, and single-drop capillary blood samples on different HemoCue models in six countries. Researchers found that after adjustment, HemoCue provides accurate hemoglobin results, and venous blood results in the most accurate measures.

LSFF in Honduras is Working Well Despite Lack of Constant Inspection—Results from a Social Audit Exercise 

Part of: Effectiveness of Large-Scale Food Fortification

Wednesday, October 18 | 10:30 AM–12:00 PM CEST | Amazon Hall

Presenter: Monica Rodriguez, chief of party, Honduras

Researchers surveyed Honduran markets to determine the micronutrient content of fortified foods; attention to enforcement, a review of the salt standard, and consideration of compulsory fortification of maize and dairy products is needed.

Addressing Multifactorial Drivers of Anemia in Pregnancy 

Part of: Unlocking the Power of Women’s Nutrition: Insights from Global Initiatives and Case Studies symposium

Wednesday, October 18 | 3:30–5:00 PM CEST | Mississippi Hall

Presenter: Denish Moorthy, senior technical advisor

This symposium will delve into critical aspects of women’s nutrition during pregnancy, with a specific focus on supplementation with iron-folic acid and with multiple micronutrients. Dr. Moorthy will describe the ecological approach to anemia in pregnancy, elucidated by the USAID Advancing Nutrition Anemia Task Force.  

Poster Presentations

All were available virtually through the conference ePoster Gallery, or in person between Tuesday, October 17 and Thursday, October 19 from 12:30–1:30 PM CEST (GMT+2) in the Exhibition Area.

A Comparison of Household Consumption and Expenditure Survey Data to 24-Hour Dietary Recall Data in Estimating Dietary Intake of Fortifiable Foods in Malawi

Thursday, October 19

Presenter: Gareth Osman, Micronutrient Action and Policy Support Project Support Officer, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources; USAID Advancing Nutrition grantee 

This study compares the use of secondary household consumption and expenditure survey data and 24-hour dietary recall data to make inferences about fortifiable food consumption and changes in the micronutrient inadequacy in Malawi. 

Assessing Food Consumption, Micronutrient Intake, and the Contribution of Large-Scale Food Fortification to Micronutrient Adequacy Using Tanzania Household Consumption and Expenditure Survey Data

Tuesday, October 17

Presenter: Rie Goto, Research Fellow, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; USAID Advancing Nutrition grantee 

This study estimates fortifiable food consumption, micronutrient inadequacy, and the contribution of large-scale food fortification to micronutrient adequacy using household consumption and expenditure data to inform large-scale food fortification programming.

Making It Meaningful: Contextualizing Food-Based Recommendations with Communities in Niger to Improve Intake of Vitamin A and Iron

Only available virtually.

Presenter: Jen Burns, senior nutrition advisor

USAID Advancing Nutrition collaborated with USAID partners to identify locally available vitamin A and iron-rich foods to supplement vitamin A and iron-folic acid supplementation. Researchers will present learning on acceptable locally available nutrient-rich foods and scaling.

Two Adjustment Methods to Reduce Machine Bias in the Measurement of Hemoglobin Concentration by Portable Hemoglobinometers

Thursday, October 19

Presenter: Denish Moorthy, senior technical advisor 

Researchers compared to methods of adjusting hemoglobin measures for machine bias: regression calibration and Bland-Altman adjustment. Both methods improved the accuracy of hemoglobin measurements obtained on HemoCue for all blood sample types.

Strengthening Engagement with Government and Food Industries to Improve Coordination and Implementation of the Food Fortification Programme in Uganda

Tuesday, October 17

Presenter: Nancy Adero, deputy chief of party, Uganda 

To strengthen the capacity of Ministries, Departments, and Agencies to enforce fortification, USAID Advancing Nutrition conducted a survey to identify sustainable actions to strengthen the National Working Group on Food Fortification.

Closing Micronutrient Gaps by Using a User-Friendly and Context Specific Tool and Process to Optimize Local Diets

Only available virtually.

Presenter: Chris Vogliano, technical advisor, food systems

USAID Advancing Nutrition piloted an Optimizing Local Diets Tool to help programs develop culturally responsive, seasonally available, economically viable, and nutritious key food lists and/or food-based recommendations to close key nutrient gaps for target populations.

The Influence of Iron-Folic Acid Packaging on Adherence and Hemoglobin Levels among Pregnant Women at Two National Referral Hospitals for Antenatal Care in Uganda

Tuesday, October 17

Presenter: Nancy Adero, deputy chief of party, Uganda  

The proportion of pregnant women receiving iron-folic acid has improved, but the number of iron-folic acid pills consumed remains low. We conducted a randomized controlled trial to determine the effect of dispensing blister and loose packaged pills on adherence and hemoglobin levels. Health workers should strengthen counseling on the benefits and side effects of iron-folic acid to increase adherence.

National Integrated Micronutrient and Anthropometric Survey of the Kyrgyz Republic 2021

Thursday, October 19

Presenter: Nazgul Abazbekova, chief of party, Kyrgyz Republic  

This cross-sectional survey assesses the nutritional and micronutrient status of key subgroups in the Kyrgyz Republic to facilitate policy and program development. 

Understanding Factors Influencing Consumption of Micronutrient-Rich Foods in Northern Nigeria: Implications for Nutrition Programming

Tuesday, October 17

Presenter: Michael Daniel Eveshoyan, technical advisor, USAID Advancing Nutrition Nigeria 

What barriers did research identify to increasing purchases and consumption of micronutrient-rich foods in three states in Nigeria?

A Standardized Method for Collecting Valid and Consistent Data for Minimum Dietary Diversity for Women (MDD-W), an Indicator of Micronutrient Adequacy

Only available virtually.

Presenter: Anna Herforth, consultant

Diet Quality Questionnaire (DQQ) as a standardized way to collect data for the MDD-W alongside additional indicators of diet quality. 

Risk Factors for Anemia among Women and Their Young Children Hospitalized with Suspected Thiamine Deficiency in Northern Lao People’s Democratic Republic

Wednesday, October 18

Presenter: Sonja Hess  

We describe the anemia prevalence among women and young hospitalized children in Lao People’s Democratic Republic and explore possible nutritional risks and risk factors.