Santé Visuelle en Tanzanie: Une huile essentielle

Source: "Santé visuelle en Tanzanie: Une huile essentielle" par Martine Letarte de Québec Science

16/09/2016 - Maïs, manioc et légumineuses; voilà les aliments principaux dans les campagnes de la Tanzanie. La viande est peu disponible pour les ruraux et ne cherchez pas au marché local des carottes, du chou frisé ou des courges! Or, les produits animaux – particulièrement les abats –, les légumes verts ainsi que les fruits et légumes orangés sont les meilleures sources de vitamine A. Ce micronutriment essentiel fait donc cruellement défaut aux Tanzaniens.

Les conséquences sont désastreuses: chez les jeunes, une telle carence ralentit la croissance et augmente les risques de mortalité à la suite de maladies comme la rougeole et la diarrhée. Surtout, leur vision est menacée. «Un apport insuffisant en vitamine A peut causer la xérophtalmie, une maladie qui rend la cornée des enfants opaque et finit par la détruire», explique Nadira Saleh, chargée de projet en Afrique orientale, du Sud et centrale, de Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), une organisation non gouvernementale (ONG) qui utilise le développement économique pour lutter contre la pauvreté. Les femmes enceintes sont quant à elles à risque de cécité nocturne, un trouble qui affecte la vision dans l’obscurité.

Le gouvernement a pourtant mis en place, ces dernières années, des mesures pour fournir suffisamment de la précieuse vitamine à sa population. Il offre gratuitement des suppléments aux enfants de moins de cinq ans. Il a aussi voté une loi en 2012 pour obliger les entreprises productrices d’huile végétale à y ajouter de la vitamine A qui se dissout facilement dans les corps gras.


Tanzania Masava QuebecScience«Par contre, on constate qu’il est ardu de rejoindre tous les enfants afin de leur prodiguer les suppléments et la loi est difficilement applicable dans les régions éloignées, plus pauvres, où les petites et moyennes entreprises dominent la production d’huile», explique Nadira Saleh. Ces entreprises n’ont pas toujours les connaissances et les technologies nécessaires pour enrichir leur produit.

Des régions critiques
L’équipe de MEDA a choisi de travailler d’abord avec de petits producteurs d’huile de tournesol de Manyara, dans le nord du pays, où la carence en vitamine A touche de 39% à 51% des enfants de six mois à cinq ans. Les producteurs locaux fabriquent une huile non raffinée; il fallait s’assurer qu’on pouvait enrichir efficacement ce produit brut. Une première! Un projet-pilote a été réalisé en 2012-2013 et il fut couronné de succès.

L’initiative, soutenue notamment par le Centre de recherches pour le développement international du Canada, s’est ensuite déployée à plus grande échelle à Manyara, ainsi que dans la région de Shinyanga, où 31% à 39% des enfants de six mois à cinq ans souffrent d’une insuffisance de ce micronutriment. Aujourd’hui, trois entreprises produisent de l’huile enrichie grâce au projet de MEDA et plus de 15000 litres ont déjà été vendus.

Changer les habitudes
L’idée de consommer de l’huile de tournesol enrichie fait présentement son chemin, surtout que l’ONG a mené une grande campagne de marketing. «Même à Shinyanga où, traditionnellement, la population n’utilisait pas d’huile de tournesol, mais des huiles moins dispendieuses, on voit maintenant beaucoup de gens se procurer notre produit», raconte Goodluck Mosha, gestionnaire du projet en Tanzanie pour MEDA.

Afin d’inciter encore davantage la population à prendre le virage, l’ONG a créé des bons de réduction électroniques envoyés par texto pour permettre aux consommateurs de se procurer l’huile enrichie à un prix semblable à celui de l’huile régulière. La stratégie fonctionne, mais elle n’a pas encore comblé les attentes de MEDA.

Nadira Saleh avance une hypothèse: «Très souvent, les Tanzaniens à faibles revenus n’achètent pas de contenants d’huile. Ils vont plutôt voir le commerçant et lui demandent de leur verser la petite quantité dont ils ont besoin sur le moment. Ainsi, plusieurs ne bénéficient pas de notre rabais et prennent l’huile non enrichie, moins dispendieuse.»

Depuis l’été dernier, MEDA tente donc une nouvelle tactique: donner les bons de réduction aux commerçants. Ils peuvent en faire profiter les clients, même lors de l’achat de petites quantités d’huile en vrac. Si le projet est concluant avec les quelques détaillants ciblés, les autres suivront, espère l’ONG.

Un autre grand défi est d’augmenter le nombre de commerces des régions ciblées où l’huile enrichie est disponible. Actuellement, près de 200 commerçants sont de la partie et MEDA souhaite en atteindre 300, voire 400, pour permettre à quelque 400000 Tanzaniens de bénéficier du projet. «Plusieurs commerçants ont manifesté leur intérêt, mais lorsque vient le temps de s’approvisionner, ils remettent le projet à plus tard, explique Goodluck Mosha. Ils manquent de capitaux et les petits commerçants n’ont généralement pas accès au crédit en Tanzanie. Il faut faire preuve de persévérance et de patience.»

L’objectif ultime du MEDA? Créer une demande à long terme pour le produit fortifié chez les habitants de Manyara et de Shinyanga. L’ONG espère ensuite se retirer du projet et voir les entreprises croître grâce à un modèle d’affaires bien huilé!

Le projet de recherche décrit dans cet article et la production de ce reportage ont été rendus possibles grâce au soutien du Centre de recherches pour le développement international.

Fortifying cooking oil for children's health

Source: "Fortifying cooking oil for children's health" in the University of Waterloo's Daily Bulletin

More than half a million children under the age of five have died in Tanzania in the past decade as a result of inadequate nutrition, but a new joint project with some Waterloo roots will increase access to one important micronutrient and potentially save lives.

Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), the University of Waterloo, and Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania just launched a two-and-a-half-year project aimed at reducing vitamin A deficiency using fortified foods.

1217Sunflower"This initiative works with local processors to crush locally grown sunflower seed and produce vitamin A sunflower oil to address local micronutrient deficiencies," said Thom Dixon, director, business of health at MEDA, and one of the project's principal investigators.

In Tanzania, about a third of all children under the age of five and women under age 50 suffer from vitamin A deficiency.

"In many rural areas, diets are lacking in basic micronutrients needed to build strong immune systems and fight disease, and vitamin A is a particular challenge in selected regions of our country," said Professor Theobald Mosha, professor of human nutrition and public health, Department of Food Science and Nutrition, Sokoine University of Agriculture, and one of the principal investigators. 

To promote the new fortified oil, an innovative electronic voucher developed in Canada will deliver subsidies to people in targeted communities and help foster demand.

"This project is expected to increase food security and encourage local economic growth by using a locally produced crop, processed at local businesses, and sold in local retailers," said Professor Susan Horton, CIGI chair in global health economics, University of Waterloo and the third principal investigator of the project.

The project supports the Tanzanian government’s national food fortification campaign, launched in 2013 to increase access to these enhanced foods. Canada’s International Development Research Centre and Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada funded this initiative under the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund.

A Tanzanian project to boost kids’ health has roots in Waterloo

Source: "A Tanzanian project to boost kids' health has roots in Waterloo" by Charlotte Drewett in the Waterloo Region Record (In print - page 1 & page 2)

WATERLOO — A research project aimed at reducing mortality rates in young children in Tanzania by fortifying sunflower oil with vitamin A has local connections.

Mennonite Economic Development Associates, whose head office is in Waterloo, has teamed up with the University of Waterloo and Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania on a research project that focuses on decreasing vitamin A deficiencies in various Tanzanian regions.

According to a 2010 Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey, one third of children under five years old have a vitamin A deficiency, which has negative affects on their immune systems leading to complications that could result in death.

Young children whose immune systems are damaged by vitamin A deficiencies cannot fight off common diseases and "they're more susceptible to pneumonia and diarrhea" said Susan Horton, from the department of economics at the University of Waterloo and chair of global health economics with the Centre for International Governance Innovation.

"The younger the kids are the higher the death rate is," Horton said, adding that in Tanzania, many children die in the first month of life.

The project will focus on providing small manufacturers in rural communities with the knowledge and technology to fortify unrefined sunflower oil with vitamin A.

"The smaller, local manufacturers are the ones that distribute to the most vulnerable people in the rural areas of Tanzania," said David Eagle, the senior project manager with Mennonite Economic Development Association.

"Large manufacturers tend to focus on larger markets, like the main cities. So any oil that gets fortified in the cities doesn't tend to get out to the rural areas that need it."

Over the next two and a half years the vitamin A-enriched sunflower oil will be distributed to residents in Manyara and Shinyanga, two of the regions in Tanzania with higher rates of vitamin A deficiencies.

The University of Waterloo will provide part of research for the project by analyzing data that comes from subsidized electronic vouchers that are going to be distributed throughout the regions via cellphones.

"The aim of course is to ultimately encourage wider distribution," Horton said.

"The great thing about this is it's a self sustaining thing because, although you initially give people a small subsidy to encourage them to try something new, in the long run you want to educate them that this is really healthy for their kids."

The electronic vouchers are multipurpose because they provide the Tanzanian population with a discounted incentive to purchase the vitamin A-enriched sunflower oils and the data can be used to track who is purchasing the oil.

"We can deliver an electronic voucher to somebody at a store in a rural area of Tanzania quite easily and it's also more secure and a traceable process, which is important for development projects as well," Eagle said.

The project is supported under the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund with funding from Canada's International Development Research Centre and Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada. 

Fortified Sunflower Oil Drawing Large Crowds

Source: "Fortified Sunflower Oil Drawing Large Crowds" by Tanzania Communication and Development Center

Vitamin A seminars in Manyara and Shinyanga are drawing large crowds to promote vitamin A-fortified sunflower and improved nutrition

Over one hundred mothers and fathers attended an early childhood nutrition seminar at the Magugu Health Clinic in Babati Rural District on February 17, 2016. The event, which promoted locally-produced, vitamin A-fortified sunflower oil, included nutrition-focused discussions and questions-and-answers sessions led by TCDC partner Friends in Development (FIDE) in collaboration with the district nutrition officer, Ms. Bernedetta Tembo.

“I was grateful to learn about how important vitamin A is for the mental and physical development of my child,” said Amina Juma, 24. “I’m looking forward to using the oil at home.”

Ms. Tembo and FIDE nutritionist, Ibra Babu, taught from an adaptation of TCDC’s new Safari ya Mafanikio Community Resource Kit, which includes participatory activities and lessons on alternative sources of vitamin A and the importance of vitamin A for eyesight and healthy skin and hair.

“During pregnancy and early childhood is really the most important time for parents to work to make sure that their children are getting the best possible nutrition,” Ms. Tembo explained. “Insufficient nutrition can lead to stunting and developmental issues later in life.”

After the session, the parents and young children were thrilled to try free samples of potatoes cooked with the oil.

TCDC image“It’s really delicious, and the vitamin A doesn’t change the flavor at all,” said Mary Daniel, 21. “I’m really excited knowing that it’s really helpful for my baby Abraham, too.”

Attendees were also educated on an innovative e-voucher program developed by project partner MEDA (Mennonite Economic Development Associates). Residents of target districts can text ‘MA’ to the number 15027 to receive a discount of TShs 900 per liter of oil.

Babati Rural is one of six target districts for MEDA’s fortified sunflower oil project. Other districts include Babati Urban and Katesh in Manyara region, and Shinyanga Municipal Council, Shinyanga District Council, and Kahama in Shinyanga region.

This work was carried out with support from International Development Research Centre (http://www.idrc.ca) and the Government of Canada, provided through Global Affairs Canada (http://www.international.gc.ca).

Fortified foods to save millions

Source: "Fortified foods to save millions" in the Daily News

MORE than half a million children under the age of five have died in Tanzania in the past decade as a result of inadequate nutrition, but a new joint project with some Waterloo roots will increase access to one important micronutrient and potentially save lives.

Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), the University of Waterloo and Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) in Tanzania, just launched a two-and-a-half-year project aimed at reducing vitamin A deficiency using fortified foods.

“This initiative works with local processors to crush locally grown sunflower seed and produce vitamin A sunflower oil to address local micronutrient deficiencies,” said Thom Dixon, director, business of health at MEDA and one of the project’s principal investigators.

A statement posted online by the Waterloo University this week said in Tanzania, about a third of all children under the age of five and women under age of 50 suffer from vitamin A deficiency.

“In many rural areas, diets are lacking in basic micronutrients needed to build strong immune systems and fight disease and vitamin A is a particular challenge in selected regions of our country,” said Prof Theobald Mosha, professor of human nutrition and public health, Department of Food Science and Nutrition, SUA and one of the principal investigators.

To promote the new fortified oil, an innovative electronic voucher developed in Canada will deliver subsidies to people in targeted communities and help foster demand.

“This project is expected to increase food security and encourage local economic growth by using a locally produced crop, processed at local businesses and sold in local retailers,” said Prof Susan Horton, CIGI chair in global health economics, University of Waterloo and the third principal investigator of the project.

The project supports the Tanzanian government’s national food fortification campaign, launched in 2013 to increase access to these enhanced foods.

Canada’s International Development Research Centre and Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada funded this initiative under the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund.

IDRC and GAC announce three new international research projects to address world hunger

Source: "IDRC and GAC announce three new international research projects to address world hunger" by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC)

OTTAWA, Dec. 15, 2014 /CNW/ - The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and Global Affairs Canada (GAC) have announced three new projects to be supported under the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund (CIFSRF).

The three new partnerships announced today will receive between $2.2 and $4.2 million in funding to advance applied research in food security.

"Canada is pleased to support innovative research projects through the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund that promise to improve the lives and livelihoods of smallholder farmers and their families in developing countries," said the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie. "Leveraging the expertise and innovation of the private and public sectors is essential to deliver real development results and break the cycle of poverty for those most in need."

A $124-million fund, CIFSRF works to increase food security in developing countries by funding applied research in agricultural innovation and fostering collaboration between developing-country researchers and Canadian experts. The research results aim to help governments, institutions, private enterprises, and farmers adopt better food security policies and practices.

"Hunger is one of the most pressing issues in the developing world today," said IDRC President Jean Lebel. "By investing in research and innovation in small-scale agriculture, IDRC is working to improve access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food. This work also helps to reduce poverty and promote economic growth."

The CIFSRF Selection Committees have chosen the following new projects for funding:

  • The University of Guelph, Canada and Local Initiatives for Biodiversity, Research and Development, Nepal are testing a series of innovations for terrace farming and their commercial distribution through agricultural kits in Nepal. These kits have the potential to support women farmers and promote entrepreneurship throughout South and Southeast Asia. Read more

  • In Tanzania, the Mennonite Economic Development Associates of Canada are working with the Sokoine University of Agriculture to test the potential of sunflower oil fortified with vitamin A to improve nutrition. Product testing and an electronic vouchers system to jumpstart demand will increase vitamin A intake for women and children. Read more

  • The Centre National de Recherche Agronomique and the Université Nangui Abrogoua, in Côte d'Ivoire, and Sporometrics, Canada are researching ways to reduce coconut crop losses from Lethal Yellowing, a disease that is devastating plantations in West Africa. A better understanding of the disease, plant breeding, and replanting will help to preserve the livelihoods of Côte d'Ivoire's coconut farmers. www.idrc.ca/cifsrf
Today's announcement brings to 24 the number of projects funded under CIFSRF since 2009. CIFSRF has supported researchers from 14 Canadian institutions and private companies and 28 developing-country counterparts, who are carrying out research in 22 developing countries.

CIFSRF research results stand to significantly increase food production and improve nutrition. They include the use of nanotechnologies to develop packaging that delays the ripening of fruit in India and Sri Lanka, new vaccines to protect livestock against multiple diseases in sub-Saharan Africa, and more nutritious and disease resistant potato varieties in Colombia.

More information on CIFSRF is available at www.idrc.ca/cifsrf

For information about results, read the CIFSRF Achievements Brief

About IDRC
A key part of Canada's foreign policy efforts, IDRC supports research in developing countries to promote growth and development. The result is innovative, lasting solutions that aim to improve lives and livelihoods.
www.idrc.ca

About GAC
The mandate of Global Affairs Canada (GAC) is to manage Canada's diplomatic and consular relations, to encourage the country's international trade, and to lead Canada's international development and humanitarian assistance.
www.international.gc.ca