Nigeria Boosts Maternal Health with New Initiative

Nigeria Boosts Maternal Health with New Initiative.

Coordinating minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Mohammad Ali Pate, has expressed the federal government’s commitment to promoting a lifesaving initiative intended to improve quality maternal health outcomes.

The minister, who disclosed this at a press briefing in Abuja, said based on the 2020 World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations on antenatal care for a positive pregnancy experience, the federal government has adopted the use of Multiple Micronutrient Supplement (MMS) during pregnancy to improve maternal health.
Represented by the permanent secretary of the Ministry, Daju Kachallom,the minister said the inclusion of MMS for pregnant women in the “National Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Micronutrients Deficiencies Control in Nigeria” is geared towards Improving pregnancy outcomes compared to Iron Folic Acid (IFAs) supplementation.

He said the urgency in scaling up programs that deliver MMS to vulnerable mothers maintaining that the process requires efficient supply chain systems and building awareness of its health benefits among mothers, communities, and maternal healthcare provider.
“This is why the 3rd pillar of the Health Sector Renewal Investment Programme is focused on unlocking medical value chains, with target to reduce the 41 percent stock- out rate of family planning products, among others, while the second pillar aims at achieving an efficient, equitable and quality health system and targeting strengthening programs for priority diseases (MTCT, immunization, malaria and MMR).

“Beyond making MMS available and accessible, we also need
to make the information about its efficacy available to the public. It is well known that pregnancy increases the daily requirement of several vitamins and minerals to meet the nutritional needs of the developing fetus and other metabolic functions.

“Antenatal MMS is designed to address these heightened demands, which are often not met through diet alone. It is particularly useful for pregnant women in poor resource settings where micronutrient intake is typically low due to inadequate dietary diversity limited access to nutritious food, gender inequality, and prevalent social norms”, the minister explained.

The permanent secretary, who was represented by the director (Nutrition), Bako Ayegbusi, noted the critical role of micronutrient in foetal development, neonatal and maternal outcomes, and the elevated prevalence of micronutrient deficiency around the
world in women of reproductive age, adding that WHO’s guidelines recommends that policy makers in populations with a high prevalence of nutritional deficiencies consider providing MMS that include IFA to pregnant women during antenatal care to improve maternal health outcome.

Kachollom also said that the country’s policies as well as the National Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Micronutrient Deficiencies in Nigeria recommends the daily oral consumption of one tablet of MMS for 180 days during



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