Advancing Maternal Health in Pakistan
Proper nutrition for pregnant women is a significant problem in many countries around the world, including Pakistan. Conditions such as anemia and under-nutrition can lead to complications for both mothers and children with lasting results. The Junaid Family Foundation, in collaboration with Kirk Humanitarian, is supporting improved outcomes of pregnancies in Pakistan through supporting the introduction and eventual advancement of prenatal care to include United Nations International Multiple Micronutrient Antenatal Multiple Micronutrient Supplements multi-micronutrient supplements (UNIMMAP MMS) as a standard part of the government-supported prenatal care program.
UNIMMAP MMS, endorsed by the World Health Organization, is proven safe for both mothers and babies and has demonstrated benefits on infant survival (29% reduction in neonatal mortality), reduction of incidence of low birth weight, and small for gestational age births, especially for mothers with anemia. Through this program, JFF, Kirk Humanitarian, and the Government of Pakistan plan to provide a better start to life for over 50K children over the next 10 years by replacing IFA (iron folic acid) with UNIMMAP MMS at scale.
The pilot program, launched in October 2022, targeted 3 prioritized areas – Islamabad, Gilgit, and Kashmir – to assess the impact and expansion needs for this program. JFF and Kirk Humanitarian, through The Ministry of Health, Pakistan, donated 126,000 bottles of UNIMMAP MMS which were distributed across 7 districts of Pakistan.
Flood Relief Donation
The Junaid Family Foundation and Kirk Humanitarian have jointly pledged to donate up to an additional 2 million bottles of UNIMMAP MMS to the government of Pakistan, consigned to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), over the next two years. The first 8 containers of product with over 1 million bottles is shipped and will be distributed in Sindh, Balochistan, and KPK provinces with additional planned shipments to follow.
The monsoon rains and resultant flooding this past summer have left roughly one-third of the country under water and more monsoon rains are expected. Economic losses and damages are estimated at over 30 billion USD with reconstruction needs over 16 billion USD. 1 A significant food crisis may be looming for Pakistan which makes the 1.5 million pregnant women displaced by this situation even more vulnerable. According to Ansir Junaid, Trustee and Chairman of The Junaid Family Foundation, “The destruction caused by flooding throughout much of Pakistan is incomprehensible. Starvation due to loss of food stores and the infrastructure to process and move food around the country will be felt significantly by millions. Pregnant women and infants are the most vulnerable of all, and we are committed to provide aid to help alleviate a portion of this suffering.”
For the past 2 decades, Kirk Humanitarian has been working to improve maternal and infant health by expanding global access to Multiple Micronutrient Supplements. Kirk Humanitarian manufactures and donates MMS free of charge to qualified recipients who have the capacity to distribute the product to women in need. Through Kirk Humanitarian’s partnership with the Junaid Family Foundation, a program has been designed and launched in collaboration with the MNHSP to facilitate the introduction and, ultimately, the inclusion of UNIMMAP MMS administration as a standardized practice of prenatal health in Pakistan.
1 World Bank Group. (2022b, October 28). Pakistan: Flood Damages and Economic Losses Over USD 30 billion and Reconstruction Needs Over USD 16 billion – New Assessment. World Bank. https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2022/10/28/pakistan-flood-damages-and-economic-losses-over-usd-30-billion-and-reconstruction-needs-over-usd-16-billion-new-assessme
Kugelman, M., 2022. Pakistan’s Flood Crisis Could Become a Food Crisis. [online] Foreign Policy. Available at: <https://foreignpolicy.com/2022/09/08/pakistan-floods-food-security-crisis/> [Accessed 22 September 2022].]
Supporting Pregnant Women in Pakistan
Under-nutrition and anemia impact maternal and infant health in Pakistan—problems compounded by catastrophic floods. The Junaid Family Foundation and Kirk Humanitarian are striving to stabilize the situation.
Micronutrient Supplements for 2m Women Planned
A plan has been finalized to provide micro-nutrient supplementation (MMS) to over 2 million pregnant women. In this regard, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr. Faisal Sultan received a senior delegation from Junaid Family Foundation to finalise the programme.
Multi Micronutrient Supplementation for Pregnant Women
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health received a senior delegation of the Junaid Family Foundation on the auspicious occasion of finalizing plans for a Multi Micronutrient Supplementation (MMS) program for pregnant women in Pakistan.