Santa Barbara, CA–Vitamin Angels has pledged $7.5 million to improve global maternal health and birth outcomes by 2020. The commitment, which was announced at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Goalkeepers event in New York City, will accelerate availability and use of UNIMMAP-multiple micronutrient supplements (MMS) among pregnant women in low and middle-income countries (LMIC)
Vitamin Angels explained in a press release that the money will support a newly launched program called “Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies,” which aims to challenge leaders and organizations globally to help pregnant women around the world gain access to MMS.
“We are pleased to be a 2019 Goalkeepers MMS Accelerator partner,” Kristen M. Hurley, Ph.D., MPH, Director of Programs at Vitamin Angels, said in the release. “Our pledge will help improve maternal nutrition globally by advancing policies and programs that target the provision of MMS among pregnant women.”
Howard Schiffer, President & Founder of Vitamin Angels, added, “Over the years we have seen the life-changing benefits that prenatal multivitamins have on undernourished pregnant women and their unborn, developing child. We believe in a world where every mother has a healthy pregnancy and every child gets a chance at a healthy start to life. Through our Goalkeepers pledge, we are one step closer to reaching that world.”
Details of the commitment, as outlined in the press release, include a focus on:
- Advocacy, with at least $50,000 per year for 3 years dedicated to increasing awareness about the benefits of MMS among national level stakeholders in LMICs.
- Product support, with incremental resources going to connect at least 2.5 m bottles of UNIMMAP–MMS over 3 years to hard-to-reach, pregnant women in LMICs.
- Technical assistance, with at least $400,000 per year for 3 years to support large healthcare systems in LMICs.
- Local manufacturing, with sustained technical assistance to one or more manufacturers in one LMIC to enable local production of UNIMMAP–MMS.
- Collaboration with the private sector, which will focus on sustained collaboration with one or more corporate partners to integrate the UNIMMAP–MMS product formulation into their private label offerings. The goal here, according to the release, is to positively affect Vitamin Angels’ cost structure for MMS procurement and distribution while also raising awareness to the importance of UNIMMAP–MMS for improving maternal health and birth outcomes.