Dissemination of WHO guidelines and recommendations on micronutrients: policy, practice and service delivery issues

WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia

Meeting Report

The public health implications of micronutrient deficiencies are very important since these deficiencies adversely affect fetal and child growth, cognitive development of infants, children and adolescents, women of reproductive age and the elderly, and lower their resistance to infection. Of all the micronutrient deficiencies, anaemia is the most common in the South-East Asia Region and an estimated 55% of preschool children, 45% of pregnant women and 40% of women of child-bearing age are anaemic. Low intake of iron and other important nutrients in the diet, parasitic infections and low bioavailability of iron from plant-based diets are considered to be the causative factors. In recent years, WHO has produced or updated several evidence-based guidelines and recommendations on a large number of nutrients of public health importance. These evidence-based guidelines for nutrition action will assist the Member States to focus on key areas of intervention and develop a harmonized monitoring framework to assess the impact of such interventions on the prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies. A regional meeting on dissemination of WHO guidelines and recommendations on micronutrients: policy, practice and service delivery issues, was organized by the World Health Organization’s Regional Office for South-East Asia in collaboration with the Department of Nutrition for Health & Development, WHO Headquarters, the Institute of Nutrition – Mahidol University, Thailand and the Micronutrient Initiative, in Bangkok, Thailand from 14-16 October 2014. The overall objective of the meeting was to discuss the effective dissemination and incorporation of WHO guidelines and recommendations on micronutrients in national control and prevention programmes highlighting the following topics: i) dissemination of current WHO guidelines and recommendations on micronutrients; ii) overview of recent strategies and approaches for addressing anaemia in different population groups; and iii) review of national protocols for the control and prevention of micronutrients deficiencies, with particular focus on anaemia.