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Vitamin and mineral (micronutrient) deficiencies impose high economic costs on virtually every developing country. But programs for alleviating these deficiencies are among the most cost-effective of all health programs—with high rates of return in terms of human resources. 'World Development Report 1993: Investing in Health' highlighted both needs and opportunities in this area.
This report provides detailed arguments for addressing micronutrient malnutrition and practical advice drawn from program experience. The book suggests three main strategies:
• Educate consumers so that they fully appreciate and understand the importance of micronutrients in their diet
• Encourage the fortification of foodstuffs by combining market incentives and regulatory enforcement
• Distribute, as a last resort, micronutrient capsules and other supplements, using all public and private channels available.
World Bank-assisted projects in 30 countries now have micronutrient components. This number could grow, but the effort will require stronger partnerships with nongovernmental organizations, private industry, and international organizations.