Rita Momoh is a nurse-midwife at a hospital in Abuja, Nigeria. With 15 years of experience and two children of her own, she understands the struggles facing pregnant women in the country.
Globally, iron deficiency is a common cause of anaemia during pregnancy and a major cause of perinatal and maternal mortality and morbidity.
Malnutrition before and during pregnancy can lead to low birthweight babies, stunting and increased risk of death for both mother and newborn.
Low birthweight is the leading cause of infant death in the first week of life, while those who survive often suffer from a range of health issues.
In Nigeria, the level of anaemia among women of reproductive age and adolescent girls is severe (57.8%). A weak health system limits access to health commodities and essential medicines, including iron-folic acid supplementation, which is an evidence-based intervention proven to prevent, control and reduce anaemia.
This project is an opportunity to directly integrate nutrition into existing sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) programming. Anaemia alone affects over 600 million women globally between the ages of 15 and 49, the exact same people that would benefit from improved access to SRHR services.
Existing UNFPA programs in Nigeria:
- Do not deliver nutrition
- Limit nutrition education and demonstration sessions to immunization clinics
- Do not include nutrition in midwives’ and nurses’ continuing professional development modules and the Adolescent Girls Initiative