THE DISSEMINATION PLATFORM OF THE MICRONUTRIENTS DATABASE IS CURRENTLY UNDER CONSTRUCTION
Currently the Micronutrients Database of the WHO Vitamin and Mineral Nutrition Information System (VMNIS) contains information on biomarkers of vitamin and mineral nutrition in populations.
Two evaluations of VMNIS have been performed1. The first was an epidemiological evaluation which assessed attributes such as: simplicity, flexibility, data quality, acceptability, representativeness, and usefulness. The second evaluation by a public health informatics specialist assessed attributes such as efficiency and functionality in regards to utilization of information technology. As part of these evaluations, an end-user survey was conducted with Member States and partners in the international community as well as other potential users of the VMNIS. Based on these evaluations, the VMNIS Micronutrients Database has been undergoing an upgrade and expansion.
The upgrade of the VMNIS Micronutrients Database is occurring in three phases.
- Phase I: Database restructuring (completed). The database has been restructured to be more efficient, capable of utilizing new innovations in information technology, and includes more nutritional indicators.
- Phase II: Data migration (in progress). This phase included the transfer of data currently in the VMNIS databases on anaemia, vitamin A deficiency and iodine deficiency to the upgraded Micronutrients Database. The data is currently in the new system and is being review for completeness and accuracy as part of the quality control processes. Once complete, a routine systematic search in the scientific literature and throughout the international community for all surveys containing information on biomarkers of micronutrients will be performed. The search includes the retrieval of all published literature through a structured search of PubMed as well as contract with the WHO Regional Offices, other UN agencies, and other partner organizations to solicit information on nutrition/micronutrient surveys. The systematic search is repeated annually to ensure that the database is maintained up-to-date. The upgraded database should be completely populated by the end of 2015.
- Phase III: Redesign of website (in progress). The dissemination platform of the micronutrients Database in the VMNIS website will allow the end-user to query information by variables such as indicator, age group, physiological status, and year. The end-user will be able to generate tables and graphs in addition to seeing the prevalence and distribution information. Currently, the public can access documents in pdf format with summary data on micronutrient status by country. At the completion of phase III, the users will control what and how the data compiled in the VMNIS Micronutrients Database is retrieved and presented. Phase III should be completed by the end of 2015.
The upgrade and expansion of the VMNIS Micronutrients Database has been guided by the suggestions of end-users as the WHO Evidence and Programme Guidance Unit continues in its objective of providing Member States with up-to-date information on micronutrient malnutrition, as well as, tools and resources for assessing vitamin and mineral status in populations.
1 Aburto NJ, Rogers L, De-Regil LM, Kuruchittham V, Rob G, Arif R, Peña-Rosas JP An evaluation of a global vitamin and mineral nutrition surveillance system. Arch Latinoam Nutr. 2013 Jun;63(2):105-13. Available at: http://www.alanrevista.org/ediciones/2013/2/?i=art1 /