A World Free of Hidden Hunger
Women’s and Newborn Survival and Health is one of the main themes of Nutrition International’s work. To improve the survival and health of women and their newborns, we work to ensure their needs for essential vitamins and minerals are met, particularly for women during pregnancy and after birth.
A woman’s contribution to herself, her family and her community includes her roles as care giver, health care provider, food provider and income earner. Women of child-bearing age are one of the groups most at risk of micronutrient deficiencies, which may stop them from fulfilling these many roles in the way that they want to.
Vitamin mineral deficiencies even put them at greater risk of death, especially during pregnancy. Two of the four leading causes of maternal death have micronutrient deficiencies as an underlying cause: hypertensive disorders and postpartum haemorrhage.
1,000 Days Help Shape a Lifetime
The time from conception to age two is the most critical period of development in the life of any individual.
Of the 7 million children under five who die every year, almost a million babies die in their first month of life and close to 3 million die in the first year.
Children who lose their mothers within the first months of their lives are at greater risk of death themselves. Every year, 32 million infants are born small, underweight and undernourished. They take their first breaths already physically and mentally stunted. Often, that is because their mothers enter pregnancy also depleted from illness, disease and malnutrition.
If children and their mothers do not get proper nutrition in those critical 1,000 days, we have missed our opportunity to help ensure those children reach their full potential. Unfortunately this happens all too often
The Optimal Mix for Improved Health
Addressing women’s micronutrient needs is a challenging task. No single intervention can reach all women at all times, so an optimal mix of approaches is needed.
The most common ways to address micronutrient deficiencies in women have been to provide iron and folic acid supplements to cater to a woman’s elevated need for iron during pregnancy and provide calcium supplements for the prevention of hypertensive disorders such as preeclampsia, and to fortify staple foods with iodine, iron, folic acid, vitamin A and other micronutrients so that women’s daily intake is improved throughout their lives. This includes one of our largest programs: salt iodization
Working with communities for better solutions
We worked collaboratively with governments, communities and partners to increase demand and improve health and nutrition services for pregnant women and their newborns in under-served areas in Africa. Learn more about this community-based package of care.