The government and Nutrition International launched the AMMI project in Pakistan on Tuesday.
The project will scale up multiple micronutrient supplementation (MMS) for pregnant women. MMS is more effectual and cost-efficient as compared to iron and folic acid in bettering birth outcomes and preventing anaemia during pregnancy in low- and middle-income countries.
WHO recommended low- and middle-income countries switch to MMS in 2020. Implementation research identifies programme bottlenecks and tests solutions. This increases MMS’s health and nutrition benefits.
“Increasing access to MMS will improve maternal nutrition, birth outcomes, and stunting,” says Dr. Abdul Baseer Khan Achakzai of Pakistan’s Ministry of Health.
“This MMS implementation research project in the Swabi district is important,” he said.
The Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Department, and Nutrition International is implementing AMMI in Swabi.
During the implementation period of one year, pregnant women getting public antenatal care in the district will receive MMS instead of IFA as a preventative maternal micronutrient supplement. Healthcare workers benefit from supervision, monitoring, and job aids.
Dr. Fazal Majeed, Director of Nutrition KPK, says micronutrient supplementation in antenatal care prevents anaemia during pregnancy.
Implementation research will improve pregnant women’s health in Swabi and KP. The research will focus on bottlenecks holding back MMS uptake, improving nutrition counselling and family engagement in antenatal care, and building healthcare workers’ capacity to drive MMS uptake and adherence.
The project will evaluate how these approaches improve care delivery, MMS introduction, and supplement adherence. This will inform Pakistan’s MMS expansion.
Dr. Shabina Raza, Nutrition International’s Pakistan Country Director, said the project will help scale up multiple micronutrient supplementation.
“Throughout the process, policy, programme, and community stakeholders share learnings. The project will improve maternal health and advance SDGs.” One in 10 Pakistani children die before their fifth birthday, and neonatal mortality is 49.4 per 1,000 live births.
“Canada remains committed to improving the health and wellbeing of women, girls, and children around the world,” said Berenice Fitz of the High Commission of Canada in Pakistan.
“We’re proud to support the Pakistani government and Nutrition International in this antenatal care research project.” Nutrition International has worked with the Pakistani government since 2001 to improve women, girls, and children’s health.
This research will help Pakistan’s Maternal Nutrition Strategy care for women and children. Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel said, “Maternal nutrition supports mother and child health. A healthy pregnancy and early childhood depend on good maternal care and nutrition.”
Multiple micronutrient supplementation (MMS) can help Pakistan achieve SDGs and WHA Global Nutrition Targets 2025. He thanked Canada for helping Pakistan fight against malnutrition. 45 health and nutrition officials attended AMMI’s launch.