More pregnant women consumed 90 iron-folic acid supplements


More newborns reached with a birth package


Service providers trained on nutrition counselling and monitoring

The Need

Almost half of all deaths of children under five occur in the first month of life.

Maternal malnutrition can have a range of adverse effects on the health and wellbeing of both the mother and the child.

Anaemia during pregnancy has been associated with higher risks of maternal and perinatal mortality. In 2016, an estimated 35.3 million – or 40% – of all pregnant women worldwide were anaemic. This is an increase of more than two million women since 2011.

Insufficient folate levels in blood prior to conception and early in the first trimester can lead to debilitating and sometimes deadly neural tube defects. An estimated 300,000 babies are born each year with spina bifida and anencephaly – the two most common types of neural tube defects.

Our Solution

Maternal nutrition is critical for the health of the mother and the baby.

Iron and folic acid supplementation (IFAS) is recommended during pregnancy to reduce the risk of low birthweight, maternal anaemia, neural tube defects and preterm birth. Recent evidence shows that multiple micronutrient supplementation (MMS) leads to additional improved birth outcomes compared to IFAS. Nutrition International supports a combination of IFAS, MMS and nutrition counselling to improve nutrition in pregnancy.

At the global level, we advocate for the voices of women to be included in policy and programming decisions, to ensure that their needs are met. Our work includes:

  • Advocating for increased global and national commitments and investments for maternal nutrition
  • Maternal health and nutrition evidence generation and translation to action
  • Technical and operational support to governments to strengthen maternal nutrition policies, supply chains, health workers capacity, behaviour change strategies, and monitoring and evaluation
  • Supporting quality of care, respect and dignity to help ensure a positive pregnancy, birth and postnatal care

Our Solution

Interventions for newborns increase their chance of survival and have lasting positive effects on their health.

Early and exclusive breastfeeding helps protect against childhood infections, provides optimal nutrition, supports ideal growth and is associated with reducing the prevalence of overweight, and diabetes later in life.

Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) – which includes continuous skin-to-skin contact, exclusive breastfeeding, and supportive follow up – can significantly improve the chance of survival and long-term outcomes for preterm and/or low birth weight babies.

We aim to reduce preventable newborn deaths and enhance their health and nutrition by:

  • Supporting birth package care and interventions, including:
    • Timely initiation of breastfeeding (within one hour of birth)
    • KMC for preterm and low birthweight babies
    • Chlorhexidine application (where contextually implicated) and clean cord care
    • Optimally-timed cord clamping
    • Nutrition counselling
    • Delivery with a skilled birth attendant
  • Advocating for policy makers to prioritize birth care and interventions in national policies and budgets
  • Training frontline health workers to enhance and maintain knowledge and skills
  • Implementing evidence-informed behaviour change intervention strategies to increase demand for skilled attendants at birth
  • Engaging as an active member of the Global Breastfeeding Collective

Our Global Projects

Discover our projects around the world

Browse our complete list of projects to learn about how we deliver high-impact, low-cost, evidence-based nutrition programs for those who need it most.

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