HMHB’s commitment to advocacy is based on the premise that knowledge without action is insufficient and that policy-relevant evidence and expertise are critical to driving evidence-based policies and impactful activities.
Today, HMHB is working on the front lines of translating research and curating knowledge to promote evidence-based advocacy agendas that help inform and engage national decision-makers, funders, and implementors. The Consortium aims to increase awareness of maternal nutrition and multiple micronutrient supplementation (MMS) within the larger context of women’s nutrition and equity.
Improving maternal nutrition status is foundational for healthy and strong families, communities, and economically self-reliant countries.
Thus, HMHB’s advocacy efforts are directed towards increasing investments and triggering policy change to adopt and scale maternal nutrition interventions, specifically MMS and reach mothers across low-and middle-income countries (LMICs) and other poor resource settings who have inadequate access to nutrient-rich diets.
In 2021 the World Health Organization decided to include MMS on the WHO Essential Medicine List, following a joint evidence-based submission by the Micronutrient Forum and the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS) in 2020.
HMHB and the MMS-Technical Advisory Group have developed an Advocacy Brief and Frequently Asked Questions document (FAQ) to support nutrition and public health professionals to advocate for the inclusion of MMS in national EMLs.
Historically, collective efforts within the global development sector have been directed largely to child nutrition. The Nutrition Year of Action 2021 offered an opportunity to drive new nutrition commitments and investments, specifically targeting women and mothers, and highlight MMS as one of the most cost-effective interventions in global development leading to enormous human capital gains.
The HMHB Consortium’s advocacy-related efforts include:
The Advocacy Resource Center houses a range of tools to help global and national actors to communicate the evidence and benefits of MMS for pregnant women and their babies with key messages that can be delivered to decision-makers or to those considering piloting, scaling, and implementing MMS.
Our short film series, Women’s Voices, capture the challenges many women and mothers face when trying to access nutrition and healthcare during pregnancy. The first film in the series featuring Agurash from Ethiopia, was launched on 8 March 2022, on International Women’s Day. The series feature Shakuntala, a health worker from Aurangabad, Shabana and Parveen from Mumbai, India as well as women from Bangladesh and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
A Special Coffee and Chai Chat on #HiddenHunger with Special Guest, Dr. Purnima Menon, Senior Director, Food and Nutrition Policy, IFPRI on the new global estimates of 2 in 3 women suffering from micronutrient deficiencies and actions for advocacy and policy priorities.
A Devex Op-ed Investing in the mothers of nations by Saskia Osendarp, Executive Director, Micronutrient Forum, and Her Excellency, Prak Sophonneary, Secretary of State for Cambodia’s Ministry of Health and the Chair of the Cambodia MMS Steering Committee, urges for a new national agenda for mothers that includes critical, cost-effective nutrition interventions such as MMS to improve maternal nutrition and health.
An online side event at the 7th Annual Agriculture Nutrition and Health (ANH) Academy Week by HMHB titled, ‘Accelerating the integration of prenatal multiple micronutrient supplementation (MMS) into antenatal care services’.
Our op-ed ‘Hidden Hunger and its Hidden Cost’, published in Devex in October 2021, positioned MMS as one of most-cost effective nutrition interventions, which leads to enormous human capital gains.
Powering Women-Promising Futures, an official N4G side-event on 30 November 2021, championed women’s nutrition, health, and equity, and also showcased commitments for women’s nutrition, including MMS during pregnancy.
A WHO Health Talk on 8 June 2021 titled Women Nutrition: Resilience and Recovery on the Road to 2030, urged new and SMART commitments and highlighted evidence-based approaches to women’s nutrition, including MMS.