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UWI Professor to Participate in WHO Group Development Meeting


Dr. Dalip Ragoobirsingh, Professor of Medical and Diabetology and director of the UWI Mona Diabetes Education Programme, in the Faculty of Medical Sciences.

Group to Discuss the Fortification of wheat flour with vitamins and minerals in public health 

Jamaica, Kingston. August 17, 2020: Dr. Dalip Ragoobirsingh, Professor of Medical and Diabetology and director of the UWI Mona Diabetes Education Programme, in the Faculty of Medical Sciences, will be participating in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Guideline Development Group Meeting scheduled for September 16-17, 2020. Participants in the Zoom Meeting, which will be hosted at their headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, will discuss evidence and draft recommendations for the WHO guideline on Fortification of wheat flour with vitamins and minerals in public health. 

According to a news release from WHO, fortification is the practice of deliberately increasing the content of micro-nutrient/s in foods in an effort to improve its nutritional quality. The work taking place in this area, according to WHO is based on the Sustainable Development Goals and is relevant to all low, middle and high income countries. Speaking to the scope and purpose of the Group, WHO indicated that this group developed and prioritized the questions for food fortification, which included staple foods such as wheat and corn flours, oil, rice and condiments.  Another guideline group, the WHO guideline development group – nutrition actions, (established for the biennium 2013–2014), reviewed the evidence and held deliberations on the interpretation of the evidence and the recommendations for maize flour and cornmeal, rice and condiments.

The organization also reiterated their commitment to driving public health impact in every country and promoting well-being for all at all ages. 

This important initiative, the FMS noted, has the potential to prevent/improve abnormalities of the neural tube development (i.e. spinal bifida, anencephaly) among other applications.

The WHO has also established five (5) guidelines for the development group meeting these are: 

  • To examine the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) evidence-to-decision profiles or other assessments of the certainty of the evidence used to inform the recommendations and provide input;
  • To interpret the evidence, with explicit consideration of the overall balance of benefits and harms;
  • To formulate recommendations and determining their strength considering benefits, harms, values and preferences, feasibility, equity, ethics, acceptability, resource requirements and other factors, as appropriate;
  • To define implications for further research and gaps;
  • To discuss implementation and evaluation considerations of the guideline. (Source: https://www.who.int/)

Professor Ragoobirsingh has previously served as a technical advisor to the Pan American Health Organization, Washington, D.C., USA, in guiding Improvement Initiatives for Diabetes Care in the Caribbean.  He was also the North American Regional Representative to the Diabetes Education Consultative of Section of the International Diabetes Federation, headquartered in Brussels and participated in the WHO Peers in Progress project and the guideline development group for global nutrition actions in Geneva, Switzerland.


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