Photo Credit: Kamal Deen Djabaku

Global Micronutrient Deficiency Estimates

For decades, the number of people world wide experiencing micronutrient deficiencies has been estimated at 2 billion. The methods used to arrive at this estimate are unclear and the data are now outdated. USAID Advancing Nutrition, in collaboration with consortium partner GAIN, and an advisory panel of experts managed by the Micronutrient Forum, is working to revise this estimate of micronutrient deficiencies and provide a transparent methodology for updating the estimate as needed. The project will use existing biomarker data from nationally representative surveys to estimate the number of women ages 15–49 and children under five who experience deficiency of at least one micronutrient. 

Hemoglobin Measurement

USAID Advancing Nutrition’s HEME working group has developed a protocol for understanding how, in a laboratory setting, the blood specimen (single drop vs. pooled capillary) and devices (various models of the HemoCue) affect hemoglobin measurement. Known as the HEmoglobin MEasurement (HEME) laboratory validation study, the project will award grants to conduct the study in different settings around the world. Once finalized, the project will synthesize the results for dissemination. With the assistance of the USAID Advancing Nutrition Anemia Task Force, we will add global context to the study findings.

Anemia Measurement, Assessment, and Interventions 

The USAID Advancing Nutrition Anemia Task Force (ATF), a panel of anemia experts, is developing a comprehensive overview of anemia: what has been done, what we are uncovering now, and what we can do to reach the World Health Assembly goals for reducing anemia. The ATF will adopt an ecological approach that includes an appreciation of systems biology: understanding the biological mechanisms underpinning various causes of anemia, translation of knowledge of biology within sensitive and specific assessment methodologies and interventions, which ultimately improve clinical and public health outcomes. Read more about the ATF

Food Fortification and Supplementation

USAID Advancing Nutrition is building on evidence generated through USAID investments in Uganda’s fortification and supplementation programs by publishing findings that show that mandatory fortification of maize flour, most of which is produced by small-scale producers, is financially unsustainable. These findings are based on two notable investments in implementation research—one on micronutrient powder (MNP) supplementation, and the other on small-scale maize flour fortification—that are key to current policy discussions in Uganda. In the first investment, the USAID-funded SPRING project collaborated with the Ministry of Health in Uganda to pilot a district-wide distribution of MNP to all children ages 6 to 23 months in Namutumba District. The pilot provided MNP from February to November 2016 to  health facilities and households through outreach programs. Although SPRING collected data on the costs of distributing through these two channels, the data have not been published. In the second instance, the SPRING project conducted a cost analysis of small-scale maize flour fortification in Uganda in partnership with the MOH and the Ministry of Trade Industry and Cooperatives. See the published paper, “Comparing costs and cost-efficiency of platforms for micronutrient powder (MNP) delivery to children in rural Uganda.”

USAID Advancing Nutrition also held a webinar in July on improving diets through innovative data analysis and modeling of food fortification, analyzing the Malawi Integrated Household Survey (IHS) as a case study. During this event, panelists shared the results of an analysis of the Fourth Malawi IHS, or IHS4, conducted by USAID Advancing Nutrition and MAPS. They also reflected on the findings as they relate to the MAPS project overall, USAID’s efforts to support context-specific approaches to improving nutrient intake, and efforts in Malawi to bolster support for national and local-level decision-making aimed at decreasing nutrient deficiencies. See the published paper, "Modeling Food Fortification Contributions to Micronutrient Requirements in Malawi Using Household Consumption and Expenditure Surveys."

Related Links


Browse a selection of 3 activities from this Focus Area technical team.

Women checking food at the market

Using Household Consumption and Expenditure Survey Data to Better Understand Food Consumption and Micronutrient Intake

Eating a healthy diet helps to protect health and prevent noncommunicable diseases like diabetes and heart disease.

Man processing wheat in Uganda

Harnessing Dietary Data to Strengthen Large-Scale Food Fortification Programming around the World

Clear and practical assessment methods and reliable data for decision-making will inform and guide large-scale food fortification programming, particularly by USAID Missions and partners.

Woman holding baby consults with expert on feeding

USAID Advancing Nutrition Anemia Task Force

Anemia is caused by multiple factors⁠—most notably, iron and other nutrient deficiencies, malaria, helminthes infestation, non-specific inflammation, and genetic blood disorders. Preventing and…

Recent research support by USAID Advancing Nutrition indicates at least 1.6 billion preschool children and non-pregnant women have one or more deficiencies; however, the total is likely much higher.
Five grantees will conduct a laboratory validation study measuring hemoglobin in different types of blood samples from the same individual, using different instruments in a laboratory setting in five…