Project 2

Evaluation of the acceptability and nutritional effects of double-fortified salt containing folic acid and iodine among Ethiopian women of reproductive age – a household-randomized, controlled, community-based trial


The prevalence of neural tube defects (NTDs) in Ethiopia is very high relative to other countries. One of the best known and most important causes of these devastating abnormalities is maternal folate insufficiency during the early weeks of pregnancy. This project will assess the effects of fortifying iodized salt with folic acid to improve women’s folate status and thereby reduce the risk of NTDs. Among the proposed activities, salt fortification may be considered as an alternative to wheat flour fortification; but there was no available evidence on the acceptability, effectiveness, and safety of salt fortification with folic acid. The document further indicated a need to generate evidence on the acceptability and nutritional impact of salt fortification before considering a national folic acid salt fortification program. The current project is designed to fill this information gap on the effects of folic acid fortification of salt.


The main objectives of the project are:
To assess discretionary salt and folate intakes and folate, iodine, and hematological status of non-pregnant women of reproductive age (WRA) in the study communities; and
Assess the acceptability and intake of double-fortified salt containing folic acid and iodine, and its effects on biomarkers of micronutrient status and safety among Ethiopian WRA.

Funding Agency

Nutrition International (with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)

Project Partners

Department of Nutrition and Institute for Global Nutrition,

University of California, Davis CA 95616 USA

Department of Nutrition, University of Rhode Island, 41 Lower College Road, Fogarty Hall Room 125, Kingston RI 02881 USA.

Nutrition International

EPHI PI/s Contact Persons

Dr. Masresha Tessema (

Meseret Woldeyohannes (

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