Who we are
The Home Fortification Technical Advisory Group (HF-TAG) is a global network of stakeholders engaged in home fortification, comprised of members from governmental, UN, NGO, private and academic sectors.
The HF-TAG's vision is improving nutrition for health and development and its mission is to provide leadership by advocating and supporting well-designed and effective home fortification interventions at scale for children and women, based on sound technical guidance and best practices. The initiative aims to scale up home fortification and to improve delivery, whether through public or market-based channels, for home fortification by providing standards, guidelines and resources to implementers of programs, producers of home fortification products and supporting entities. The network seeks to represent all these key stakeholder groups and address the most important and feasible barriers to home fortification.
The HF-TAG website serves as a central, online hub for home fortification. By aggregating and connecting existing resources and building a shared space for discussion, the HF-TAG website and affiliated Home Fortification Network (Community of Practice) aims to increase the intra-sector and multi-sector collaboration necessary to improve nutrition and health outcomes. The HF-TAG is built on the principle of inclusion and expands home fortification information/guidance within the public domain. Guidance is based on a review of evidence as well as on best practice and experience with policy formulation and program implementation.
What is Home Fortification?
Home-fortification consists of adding specialized products such as multiple micronutrient powders (MNP) or food-based complementary food supplements (CFS) such as small-quantity lipid-based nutrient supplements (SQ-LNS) and full-fat soy flour (and soy protein isolate) with a vitamin-mineral mix to foods prepared at home. Table 1 (see end) captures some of the available products currently in use.
Home fortification is used in situations where diets do not provide enough essential nutrients. Because unfortified cereal-based complementary foods generally do not supply enough essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and/or other nutrients critical for optimal growth and development, home fortification can fill nutrient gaps, especially when access to sufficient nutrient-dense foods is limited. Home fortification empowers caregivers to improve the quality of the diet of individuals within the family by adding nutrients to locally available foods prepared at home or other settings such as daycare centers or schools.
The home fortification approach provides the flexibility to target specific ingredients and products to the needs of certain population groups, such as young children aged 6-23 or 6-59 months, school age children or pregnant or lactating women, who are at particular risk for inadequate nutrient intake. Specifically due to the relatively high nutrient needs to support the physical and cognitive development of the developing child, home fortification is an important intervention supported by The 1,000 Days Partnership (http://www.thousanddays.org) and Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement (http://scalingupnutrition.org).
In the context of complementary feeding, home fortification does not require any change in how the usual soft, mushy, semi-solid age appropriate complementary foods are prepared. Adding a sachet of powdered or lipid-based nutrients to the complementary food once per day is an easy thing to do.
Home fortification, if used correctly, does not conflict with breastfeeding or with a timely transition from exclusive breastfeeding to introduction of complementary foods at six months of age as recommended by the WHO. Moreover, home fortification can be a powerful tool to reinforce messages on timely introduction of complementary food and continued breastfeeding to two years and beyond. Home fortification products come in measured doses that are safe to consume and easy to store and use. Distribution of home-fortification products can be achieved by various means including delivery by government programs, NGOs, and UN agencies free of cost to the end-user, or by market-based systems.
Products used in home fortification have been demonstrated to have a significant health impact. The largest body of evidence is around MNPs for prevention and control of iron-deficiency anemia, for which a systematic review, a WHO Guideline, and an HF-TAG programmatic guidance brief exist. While inconclusive, research on small quantity LNS (≤120 kcal/d, ≤20 g/d) in older infants and young children is on-going and suggests benefits related to linear growth (height), infant development and micronutrient deficiencies (http://www.ilins.org). Although some programs are already moving ahead to start using small quantity LNS, until there is further evidence, HF-TAG cannot yet make programmatic recommendations for this product.
Table 1. Most common Home fortification products presently in use
|MNP||Complementary Food Supplements (CFS)|
|Small quantity lipid-based nutrient supplements (SQ-LNS)||Multi-nutrient powder containing vitamins and minerals plus food ingredients such as full-fat soy flour, milk powder, and other ingredients (called Ying Yang Bao in Chinese)|
|Sprinkles®, MixMe™, Chispitas, Chispaz, Vitalita, Gulazyk, MoniMix, Pushtikona, Ongera Intungambiri, Chispitas Solidarias, Bebe Vanyan Plus, Bo Fanjaka||Nutributter™, eeZee20™||Yu Er Bao™, Tian Tian Ai™|