The Micronutrient Initiative has become Nutrition International in Canada as of April 4, 2017. This change is being implemented globally over the coming months.
With its strong team of experts in public health and nutrition, MI Nigeria works with partners to support the government to ensure the most vulnerable are reached with life-saving and life-enhancing micronutrient programming.
MI priority objectives in Nigeria:
- Continue to support the Federal Ministry of Health and National Primary Health Care Development Agency with Maternal Newborn and Child Health Weeks (MNCHW) events to provide vitamin A supplementation to children aged 6 to 59 months.
- Continue to work with the state Ministries of Health, state Primary Health Care Development Agency and partners to reach hard-to-reach communities with vitamin A supplements to children aged 6 to 59 months.
- Identify alternative strategies to scale-up zinc supplementation for children under five years of age in selected states of northern Nigeria.
- Address the barriers and adherence to uptake of iron and folic acid supplements among pregnant women in selected states of northern Nigeria.
- Work with the national Universal Salt Iodization/Iodine Deficiency Disorders Task Force to strengthen the monitoring of iodized salt at factory, market and household levels.
Although Nigeria has low micronutrient deficiency rates, its under-five mortality rate is among the highest compared to other countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
Pregnant women and mothers, along with children under the age of five receive both preventive and curative health services, with vitamin A supplements for children age 6 to 59 months being consistently provided across all the 37 states through MI Nigeria and partner support.
MI Nigeria works closely with the Nutrition Division of Federal Ministry of Health and other partners in supporting Nigeria’s nutrition programs and played an active role in the development of Nigeria’s Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Road Map – which highlights the country’s commitment in delivering nutrition interventions.
As a SUN country, Nigeria is working to increase and improve coordination for the scale-up of nutrition programming across the country, as it tackles the issue of its chronically malnourished children.
MI Nigeria supports twice-annual vitamin A supplementation for children with a particular focus on the hardest to reach.
MI Nigeria donates a full national supply vitamin A capsules via UNICEF for delivery to all children under the age of five during nationwide maternal, newborn and child health week campaigns.
The Government of Nigeria receives 100% of their national needs of vitamin A capsules through MI’s In-Kind-Assistance capsule donation program in collaboration with UNICEF.
In addition, MI Nigeria works with UNICEF to strengthen capacity of 14 states Ministry of Health and state Primary Health Care Development Agencies namely: Kogi, Niger, Nassarawa, Plateau, Gombe, Bauchi, Kano, Sokoto, Edo, Delta, Bayelsa, Cross River, Imo and Enugu to improve vitamin A coverage in hard-to-reach areas.
Zinc and Oral Rehydration Salts
Diarrhoeal diseases kill more than 200,000 Nigerian children under the age of five every year. Using zinc, along with oral rehydration salts (ORS), to treat diarrhoea helps children recover faster and can even save their lives.
With support from the Government of Canada, MI Nigeria works with the federal and four state Ministry of Health to improve access to this life-saving treatment.
This includes improving the availability of zinc itself, as well as strengthening health systems to deliver the treatment through front line health workers and via public healthcare facilities and community health delivery systems to reach the hardest-to-reach.
In 2014, MI, in collaboration with the Government of the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) and UNICEF, supported the training of 248 health workers in all four states of Nigeria – Katsina, Jigawa, Zamfara and Yobe – on the benefits of zinc and ORS as the first line of treatment for childhood diarrhoea. This training included improving access, coverage and awareness of this life-saving treatment.
In 2014, MI helped treat an additional 367,967 cases of diarrhoea in children under the age of five with zinc and ORS.
Iron and Folic Acid
MI Nigeria is collaborating with the DFID-funded PRRINN-MNCH program to demonstrate a model for strengthening IFA supplementation through existing antenatal care services at health facilities.
In four northern states – Zamfara, Katsina, Jigawa, Yobe – we work with partners to reach pregnant women in the poorest quintile with iron and folic acid supplementation.
Our program combines both community volunteers, as well as front line health workers in public health facilities, to delivery these supplements.
A behaviour change strategy was developed and launched in 2013, and approximately 250 health workers were trained in IFA supplementation support.
Despite achieving universal salt iodization, Nigerian has seen some slippage in iodization levels, putting newborns at increased risk of iodine deficiency disorders.
With pregnant woman suffering from iodine deficiency, each year approximately 900,000 Nigerian children are born suffering some level of mental impairment. MI Nigeria is monitoring the situation closely and advocating for stronger enforcement of iodization legislation.
In 2013, MI supported quality assurance and control efforts including:
- Two rounds of salt monitoring were conducted in eight States by two regulatory agencies (NAFDAC and CPC)
- Two hundred (200) quality assurance and quality control protocols
- Development of 500 manuals for salt monitoring
- Thirty three (33) regulatory agencies officials trained on use of iodine test-kit