Solomon Islanders will now have an added boost to their daily diet, thanks to a food fortification initiative led by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services.
Last Thursday, the Delite Flour Mill started fortifying its wheat flour, adding iron, zinc, folate, niacin, thiamine and riboflavin to its product.
A statement from the Australian High Commission office in Honiara said these are important micro-nutrients which are missing from many Solomon Islanders’ diets.
It said Delite is part of an innovative public-private partnership that Australia helped broker between nine stakeholders to improve nutrition.
The partnership is being led by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services and includes the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, Ministry of Finance and Treasury, Delite Flour Mill, Solomon Rice Company Limited, Food Fortification Initiative, United Nations Children’s Fund, the World Health Organization and Australia.
Meanwhile, the statement said Solomon Islands suffer from high levels of under-nutrition, which is contributing to increased mother and child illness and mortality as well as reduced productivity across the population.
Food fortification involves the addition of micro-nutrients to commonly consumed food and is one way to boost nutrition levels across the country, especially when combined with other changes such as a healthy, balanced diet of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Acting Australia High Commissioner Dr. Dave Peebles said Australia is pleased to work with the Solomon Islands Government and other partners on this important health initiative.
He adds the key to tackling under-nutrition is through a balanced diet, good quality antenatal care, and exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life.
Australia provided funding of approximately AUD$300,000 to the Food Fortification Initiative for initial technical support to establish the public-private partnership.
Australia congratulates all partners, including Delite Flour Mill and the Solomon Islands Government for the leadership they have shown in tackling this challenging public health issue.