South Africa's national fortification programme successful in reducing birth defects
A 2007 study found a significant decline in birth defects resulting from the fortification programme, with reductions in spina bifida and anencephaly by 41.6% and 10.9%, respectively. A separate study found a 66% reduction in perinatal deaths related to neural tube defects, and a 39% reduction in NTD-related infant mortality.
The decrease in birth defects found in South Africa is consistent with decreases observed in other countries that have fortified their food supplies.
By comparing the cost of fortification against the cost of treating birth defects avoided by fortification, there was a benefit:cost ratio of approximately 30:1, again indicating that micronutrient fortification is one of the most cost-effective public health interventions available.