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Food Nutr Bull. 2015 Sep;36(3 Suppl):S141-8. doi: 10.1177/0379572115599325. Epub 2015 Aug 17.

Use of Optimization Modeling for Selecting National Micronutrient Intervention Strategies: An Example Based on Potential Programs for Control of Vitamin A Deficiency in Cameroon.

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Department of Nutrition, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA, USA Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle, Washington, USA
Department of Nutrition, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA, USA.
Kagin's Consulting, Vacaville, CA, USA.
Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA, USA.
Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA, USA.


Vitamin and mineral (micronutrient [MN]) deficiencies are common in lower income countries, especially among young children and women of reproductive age. These deficiencies are cause for serious concern because of their high prevalence and their associated complications, which include depressed immune function and increased risk and severity of infections, impaired neurocognitive development, and anemia, which together result in elevated mortality and reduced human productive capacity. A broad range of different intervention strategies are available to control MN deficiencies. At present, these interventions are usually implemented at a national scale through different public and private sector entities, often with little coordination. We have developed a set of models based on the estimated ability of different interventions to achieve effective coverage and the necessary financial resources required to deploy these interventions. The models provide a unified and transparent framework for considering different options using the common indicator of effective coverage. More specifically, information on nutritional benefits and costs are analyzed using an economic optimization model to identify the mix of interventions that could be delivered to specific target groups in particular geographic areas to achieve a desired level of effective coverage at lowest cost. Alternatively, these optimization models can be developed to identify the combination of interventions needed to achieve the maximum effective coverage, given specified budgetary limitations. The results of these models can be useful input into policy-making processes. To introduce this analytical approach, the set of papers in this volume addresses the problem of vitamin A deficiency among young children in Cameroon.


Cameroon; micronutrient intervention programs; optimization models; vitamin A deficiency

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