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New Devex Op-ed: Investing in the Mothers of Nations

15 December 2022 – Devex published an Op-ed 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, titled ‘Investing in the mothers of nations‘, today.


The article draws attention to the “unacceptably high and largely preventable levels of maternal malnutrition across low- and middle-income countries” which “continue to limit nations’ human capital” and argues that investing in the health of mothers is critical for nations to safeguard the health and well being of future generations. It calls for a new national agenda for mothers that includes critical, cost-effective nutrition interventions to improve maternal nutrition and health.

One such opportunity is the introduction of UNIMMAP Multiple Micronutrient Supplements, referred to as MMS, which provides 15 essential vitamins and minerals for pregnant women and is an evidence-based and cost-effective solution that improves maternal nutrition and reduces adverse birth outcomes. It recommends that national governments adopt MMS into their maternal health and nutrition policies and more specifically, include MMS in national drug lists, following the inclusion of MMS in WHO’s Model List of Essential Medicines in 2021. Next, it recommends that governments design MMS delivery programs to integrate into existing national nutrition services and health systems and, in line with WHO recommendations, introduce MMS in the context of rigorous implementation research.