Joint Launch of Nourishmaa Campaign by Nutrition International

Joint Launch of Nourishmaa Campaign by Nutrition International and Federal and Sindh Governments to Improve Maternal Nutrition in the Province.
Pakistan (Muhammad Yasir)

Nutrition International partnered with the Ministry of National Health Services Regulations and Coordination (MoNHSR&C) and Health Department Sindh launch NourishMaa Campaign – an initiative aimed to promote maternal nutrition agenda in the province. The joint efforts of the partners aim to improve the knowledge and skills of healthcare providers (HCPs) and frontline health workers (FHWs) in four districts of Sindh with the overall goal to improve maternal nutrition status in the targeted areas.

The health, nutrition, and wellbeing of women during preconception, pregnancy, and post-partum periods are vital for positive pregnancy outcomes and long-term wellbeing of both mother and child,” emphasized Mr. Nasir Hussain Shah, Provincial Minister of Sindh for Local Governments. Mr. Shah expressed appreciation for the efforts of Nutrition International in launching this initiative, and assured government’s ample support to successfully implemting the campaign in the province.

The latest National Nutrition Survey 2018 confirms the macro and micronutrient deficiencies amongst women of reproductive age (WRA) are very alarming, 14.4% WRA are underweight similarly 42% of them are anaemic while 22% are vitamin A deficient. These high rates of undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies among WRA indicate a vicious cycle of malnutrition in the country which needs to be urgently addressed. The NourishMaa campaign envisioned to complement the Pakistan Maternal Nutrition Strategy 2022-27, aims to help address the maternal malnutrition issues in the country by leveraging the critical role of HCPs and FHWs.

The NourishMaa Campaign is being rolled out by Nutrition International with the close collaboration of MoNHSR&C, the provincial health departments, the Professional Medical Association, and the Society of Obstetrics and Gynaecologist, in six districts of Pakistan including four in Sindh; Larkana, Qambar Shahdadkot, Karachi East, and Korangi. Along with targeting the health workers to sensitize them and enhance their capacities on the importance of maternal nutrition, the campaign will also involve key opinion leaders (KOLs), and other stakeholders to advance maternal nutrition interventions in Pakistan. Through this initiative, the campaign aims to achieve some specific outcomes – enhanced maternal nutrition knowledge among HCPs and FHWs, meaningful engagement of HCPs on the subject, and increased knowledge and motivation of KOLs for accelerating actions to advance maternal nutrition agenda at the national and provincial levels.

Stressing the critical need for investing in maternal nutrition, Mr. Dawar Adnan Shams, The National Campaign Manager for NourishMaa, Nutrition International said “maternal nutrition is an important issue to be addressed as it is directly linked to the intergenerational cycle of malnutrition.” Highlighting Nutrition International’s efforts for improving maternal nutrition in the country, Mr. Shams said that, for more than two decades, Nutrition International has been partnering with federal and provincial governments and various institutions to improve maternal nutrition indicators in the country, we are now reaching out to healthcare professionals, to mobilize and orient them for their critical role for improving maternal nutrition especially through improved nutrition counselling.

Speaking at the launching event, Dr. Pir Ghulam Hussain, Additional Director General Health Services Sindh said that altogether over 400,000 medical professionals and outreach workers are working in the country. However, most of them never received any formal training on maternal nutrition. By developing models and channels, this campaign is expected to enhance the knowledge of the health care providers on the subject to have a positive impact on maternal health statistics.

During the NourishMaa campaign launch, a video anthem was unveiled with the aim of promoting the campaign among stakeholders, particularly healthcare workers. This anthem serves to grab their attention and generate awareness. Over the course of two years, the NourishMaa campaign will employ diverse approaches and channels to enhance the knowledge, skills, and motivation of healthcare providers (HCPs), frontline health workers (FHWs), and key opinion leaders (KOLs). The campaign will utilize interpersonal communication, targeted media outreach, traditional and social media campaigns, talk shows, campaign ambassadors, as well as training sessions, seminars, and conferences.

The campaign launch was attended by more than 100 participants, including key stakeholders such as Dr. Farhana Memon, Additional Director General of Health, Sindh; Dr. Khalid Memon, Additional Director General of RMNCH, Sindh; Dr. Khawaja Masood, National Coordinator Nutrition/National Fortification Alliance; Dr. Farhana Shahid, Country Advisor for Nutrition at BMGF; Dr. Abdul Ghafoor Shoro, Secretary General of Pakistan Medical Association; Prof. Dr. Saba Khan, Treasurer of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Pakistan (SOGP); as well as representatives from UN agencies, development partners, civil society, and media.