Grisha Balasanyan

Minister Backs Flour Enrichment Program; Points to Anemia Rise in Childbearing Aged Women

Claiming that anemia among child bearing aged women has doubled in Armenia, the country’s minister of health today again publicly supported a UNICEF backed initiative to enrich flour.

In response to a question posed by a Prosperous Armenia Party MP, Minister of Health Armen Muradyan quoted figures that the number of anemic women of childbearing age had doubled from 12% in 2000 to 24% in 2005.

During the Q&A session in parliament, Muradyan also said that anemia in preschoolers had risen from 24% in 200 to 37% in 2005.

In an attempt to substantiate the need for the enrichment program, Muradyan stated that annually 700 children are born in Armenia with various birth defects and that 80% lead to physical disabilities.

The minister claimed that this is a result of a folic acid deficiency.

Muradyan said that 82 countries have adopted programs to enrich not only flour but juices, dairy and other foodstuffs.

When asked if the program would result in bread price hikes, Muradyan said that at most bread might rise 200 drams for one individual over the course of a year.