The Federal Government of Nigeria, represented by the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Mohammad Ali Pate, has introduced a transformative initiative to improve maternal health outcomes.
Unveiled during a recent press briefing in Abuja, the initiative centres on implementing the 2020 World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations for antenatal care to ensure a positive pregnancy experience.
According to Pate, the inclusion of Multiple Micronutrient Supplementation (MMS) for pregnant women in the National Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Micronutrient Deficiencies in Nigeria is a strategic move aimed at enhancing pregnancy outcomes compared to conventional Iron Folic Acid (IFAs) supplementation.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Daju Kachallom, highlighted the shift to Multiple Micronutrient Supplementation (MMS) during pregnancy, emphasising its potential to significantly improve pregnancy outcomes.
To scale up MMS programmes effectively, Kachallom stressed the importance of efficient supply chain systems and increased awareness among mothers, communities, and healthcare providers. She noted that the Health Sector Renewal Investment Programme’s third pillar aims to reduce family planning product stock-out rates and emphasises unlocking medical value chains.
Beyond accessibility, the minister emphasised the need to disseminate information about the efficacy of MMS, especially among pregnant women. She clarified that MMS is not a vaccine but is delivered in various forms, such as tablets, capsules, powder, or liquid.
The goal of the initiative is to ensure equitable, efficient, and improved quality health outcomes for all Nigerians, regardless of geographical location or status.
The Permanent Secretary, represented by the Director of Nutrition, Mrs. Bako Ayegbusi, highlighted the critical role of micronutrients in foetal development and maternal outcomes. Referring to WHO guidelines, she emphasised the importance of MMS, including iron folic Acid, during antenatal care to address micronutrient deficiency prevalent among women of reproductive age.
Kachallom reiterated that the country’s policies and National Guidelines recommend the daily oral consumption of one tablet of MMS for 180 days during pregnancy, emphasising the government’s commitment to prioritising maternal health and ensuring a positive pregnancy experience for all women in Nigeria.