The University of Wollongong (UOW) has been awarded a highly competitive, two-year grant for $146,000 (US$100,000) to address the burden of excess salt intake in South Africa.

The project will encourage enforcement of mandatory sodium targets in processed foods by evaluating how well the food industry is complying with the targets and developing monitoring systems. UOW will partner with University of Pretoria, Heart and Stroke Foundation SA, Discovery Vitality and the George Institute for Global Health.

The grant program, part of the LINKS platform that connects people working to improve cardiovascular health around the world, is funded by Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies, and managed by Resolve along with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through the CDC Foundation.

Resolve to Save Lives is a five-year, $225 million campaign funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Gates Philanthropy Partners, which is funded with support from the Chan Zuckerberg Foundation.

Karen Charlton, a Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics at UOW’s School of Medicine and the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute, will lead the project.

“The epidemic of non-communicable diseases is increasingly burdening health systems in African countries. Prevention is key,” Professor Charlton said.

“This grant provides a welcome opportunity for our team to assess compliance of the food industry with mandated salt targets in South Africa and develop a monitoring framework with key stakeholders such as the South African Directorate of Food Control.

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