A united call to action
A united call to action
Full Report & Chapter Summaries
Data & Statistics
Case Studies
Media Resources
A united call to action

Welcome to a United Call to Action on Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies

The report was prepared by the Micronutrient Initiative, in partnership with the Flour Fortification Initiative, USAID, GAIN, WHO, The World Bank, and UNICEF, with support of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and shows micronutrients are the best low-cost solution to improved health in the developing world.

Full Report (PDF)English, French
Summary (PDF):   English, FrenchChinese

Report Launches Around the World
United Call to Action Report Cover

Around the world, billions of people live with vitamin and mineral deficiencies

Case Studies

Salt production in Senegal

View Summary

Vitamins and minerals are vital components of human health, advancing physical and intellectual development in important ways and are critical to meeting the Millenium Development Goals. However, billions of people currently live with deficiencies in a range of crucial vitamins and minerals, also known as micronutrients - including vitamin A, iodine, iron, zinc and folate. The results of these deficiencies are significant:

  • Vitamin A deficiency annually claims the lives of almost 670,000 children under five.
  • Iron deficiency anaemia during pregnancy is associated with 115,000 deaths each year, accounting for one fifth of total maternal deaths.

World’s best investment for development

The benefit:cost ratio of micronutrient programming is unmatched by any other large-scale health or economic intervention. In 2008, the Copenhagen Consensus panel considered 30 options and ranked the provision of micronutrients as the world’s best investment for development.

Cost-effective solutions are ready to be scaled-up

Working together, national governments, donors, science and industry have made huge strides in delivering cost-effective nutrition solutions to vulnerable populations.


  • Fortifying flour and other staple crops with vitamin A, folic acid, iron and zinc has been an effective means of reducing anaemia and birth defects.
  • Salt iodization reduces goitre and improves cognitive development. In communities where iodine intake is sufficient, IQ is shown to be on average 13 points higher than in iodine-deficient communities.


  • Where a population is at risk of vitamin A deficiency, providing young children with vitamin A supplementation every six months reduces mortality by an average of 23%.
  • Zinc supplementation, given with oral rehydration therapy, can reduce the duration and severity of acute diarrhoea, one of the leading causes of death of children.