MMS: Achieving a critical standard of care for pregnancy in humanitarian settings

With maternal nutrition statistics around the world moving in the wrong direction, The Junaid Family Foundation’s Jackie Sanders sat down with Caitlin Welsh from the Center for Strategic & International Studies, Emily Mates from UNICEF, Dr. Akhiro Seita from UNRWA, and Dr. Martin Mwangi from Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies to discuss the use of multiple micronutrient supplements (MMS) in humanitarian settings. While MMS is a standard practice of antenatal care in high-income countries, the same is not valid for many low-income countries where pregnant women often suffer from malnutrition, including micronutrient malnutrition.

MMS has proved to be an excellent solution to supplement diets often lacking in critical micronutrients by providing 15 micronutrients with each dose. In addition, when taken during pregnancy, they have demonstrated improved maternal and birth outcomes for infants, including infant and maternal survival, low birth weight, and small for gestational age. These outcomes are meaningful and increase the likelihood of infants reaching critical developmental milestones and for mothers to manage their pregnancies with improved health.

In crises, food scarcity and limitations to a comprehensive diet compound preexisting malnutrition challenges. The Junaid Family Foundation is working with Kirk Humanitarian and The Government of Pakistan to support pregnant women affected by the 2022 floods that covered roughly one-third of Pakistan. The first shipment, including over 1 million bottles of UNIMMAP MMS, arrived in Pakistan earlier this year and is currently distributed within two of the three target provinces. Up to an additional million bottles of MMS have been pledged, with future shipments in process.

 

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