Micronutrient Deﬁciencies, deﬁned as a lack of essential vitamins and minerals required in small amounts by the body for proper growth and development, is now recognized as an important contributor to the global burden of diseases. It affects several million people around the world and contributes to growth retardation, impaired intellectual performance, reduced work capacity, morbidity and mortality. These lead to adverse socioeconomic retardation of entire communities and therefore nations. Micronutrient malnutrition has been identified as the ‘Hidden Hunger’. The three most common forms of micronutrient deficiency are Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDD), Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD) and Iron Deficiency Anaemia (IDA). The key strategies used in fighting micronutrient deficiencies include: the promotion of the consumption of food rich in micronutrients, the fortification of salt for iodine deficiency, the supplementation of children under-five with vitamin A capsules and the provision of iron folic acid tablets for pregnant women.
Micronutrient Deﬁciencies are a huge problem in The Gambia and the deficiencies of public health concern are Vitamin A, Iron Deﬁciency Anemia, and Iodine Deﬁciency. Almost 50.9% of non-pregnant women (15-49 years) and 56.8% of pregnant women are aﬀected by anaemia, nationally, 18.2% have Vitamin A deficiency (VAD), Iron deficiency (ID) and Iron deficiency anemia (IDA) are 59.0% and 38.2%, respectively in Gambian children 6-59 months of age, (GMNS, 2018).
The Micronutrient Deﬁciency Control Programme of The Gambia aims to reduce or eliminate micronutrient deﬁciencies of public health importance among the most vulnerable population, particularly women and children. NaNA, in collaboration with partners have been implementing several programmes over the years to help combat the problem. The following interventions have been designed and are being implemented to reduce the prevalence: