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Assuring the Continuing Quality of the WHO Vitamin and Mineral Nutrition Information System

Start Date: 2008


In a response to a World Health Assembly call to strengthen the global surveillance of micronutrient deficiencies, the World Health Organization (WHO), Micronutrient Unit established the Vitamin and Mineral Nutrition Information System VMNIS. This system was formerly known as the Micronutrient Deficiency Information System (MDIS). The goal of the VMNIS is to provide up-to-date national, regional, and global information on micronutrient deficiencies, as well as provide online resources and tools related to global vitamin and mineral nutrition. To visit the VMNIS:

The VMNIS includes:

  • Tools for the assessment of the micronutrient status of populations.
  • Monitor and evaluate tools
  • Resources related to indicators and laboratory capacity
  • A micronutrient database

WHO and its partners also plan to add two new databases to the surveillance system to monitor zinc deficiency and iron deficiency worldwide.

As part of a cooperative agreement with WHO, the CDC–

  • Funds the maintenance of the surveillance systems databases housed at the WHO Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Provides technical assistance on the re-design and implementation of the database, as well as data use.


Representatives of the CDC visit the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, 1-2 times each year to provide technical assistance to the WHO Micronutrient Unit. The CDC representatives assess the epidemiological aspects of the databases from the current surveillance systems and provide technical assistance on the development of the databases for the new surveillance systems and on the design and implementation of the Indicator Inventory. The CDC continues the financial and technical support for upgrading, expanding, and maintaining the VMNIS.

Future Plans

Through the 5 year (2009-2014) WHO / CDC cooperative agreement, the CDC will continue to provide funding, staff time and epidemiological and technical assistance in maintaining current databases in VMNIS and implementing the new databases.


CDC currently works with the World Health Organization’s Micronutrient Unit on this initiative.

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