As a result of improved technology, and a growing awareness of the relevance of micronutrients in health and development, an increasing number of biological indicators are being used to assess the vitamin and mineral status in populations, to evaluate risk factors and to generate estimates of the global burden of disease related to micronutrient deficiency.
Additionally, vitamin and mineral levels can be measured in food products and are done so in food fortification programmes as part of their regulatory monitoring activities. Other programmes also require the measurement of vitamin and mineral content of supplements as part of monitoring activities.
With this in mind, the Evidence and Programme Guidance Unit of the Department of Nutrition for Health and Development is working on a project to develop a global directory of laboratory capacity for assessment of micronutrients. The purpose of this database is to provide Member States and their partners with an interactive and user-friendly resource to identify national, regional, and global laboratory capacity for assessing vitamin and mineral status in populations and vitamin and mineral content of fortified staple foods such as salt, flours or condiments.