- November 8, 2018
In Ghana, micronutrient deficiencies are highly prevalent and persistent; one in five Ghanaian women aged 15-49 suffer from anemia, and 54 percent of non-pregnant and pregnant women aged 15-49 have folate deficiency. Sight and Life currently supports an engaging initiative called OBAASIMA committed to ensuring adequate vitamin and mineral intakes among pregnant women and women of reproductive age in Ghana. The OBAASIMA seal was developed by Affordable Nutritious Foods for Women (ANF4W) in cooperation with the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) and the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) with the aim of improving the micronutrient intakes of women of reproductive age, particularly during the critical 1,000 day window from pregnancy through the first two years of life.
Launched in February 2017, OBAASIMA uses a distinctive trademark or front-of-package seal to guarantee nutrition quality, while easily identifying fortified food products that provide a good source of 18 vitamins and minerals designed for women of reproductive age, such as iron, folic acid, calcium, iodine and zinc as well as vitamin A, C, B12, D and many more. The OBAASIMA Seal provides a clear assurance to consumers of a high quality, safe, and nutritious food that adhere to the minimum fortification content and nutrition criteria. In that way, not only has OBAASIMA created demand for nutritious foods in Ghana by making products easily identifiable and recognizable, but it can also serve as a very good model for other companies in low- to middle-income countries to alleviate micronutrient deficiencies and encourage healthy eating.
In addition, the clear criteria required for inclusion of the OBAASIMA Seal on products encourages entrepreneurial opportunities for food producers and processors which want to capitalize on consumer growth around affordable nutritious food; and provides an opportunity for business-to-business solutions with local food processors. Going forward, OBAASIMA aims to increase the number of fortified food products available in Ghana for women of reproductive age, and to further increase consumer demand by making them more recognizable.
OBAASIMA is a public-private partnership that includes AGI, GSA, the German Development Cooperation (GIZ), DSM, Sight and Life, and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Previous partners also included CIFF and Ajinomoto.