Vitamin Angels: Widest Reach Ever in 2021

Photo courtesy of Vitamin Angels.

Goleta, CA—By the end of 2021, Vitamin Angels reached a total of 70 million underserved pregnant women and children in 65 countries, including all 50 U.S. states and Puerto Rico, through their network of 1,200 program partners—a wider reach than ever before.

“Although 2021 was a tough year for our world, I am so proud of the Vitamin Angels team for continuing our work and expanding our reach to even more women and children who need essential nutrition the most,” said Howard Schiffer, Vitamin Angels Founder & President, in a press release. “Our achievements wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our long-standing corporate partners and donors, who gave more generously in 2021 than ever before.”

Specific initiatives that expanded reach include:

  • Expanded Implementation Research: Vitamin Angels expanded its implementation research activities across 9 countries to further inform the introduction, implementation, and scale-up of its MMS program (prenatal vitamins and minerals). These countries included Indonesia, Mexico, Vietnam, Cambodia, Haiti, Thailand, Brazil, South Africa, and the DRC.
  • Strengthened Monitoring and Evaluation Programs: Vitamin Angels strengthened its monitoring and evaluation programs to more accurately track decreased barriers to coverage, effective implementation, and increased coverage.
  • Launched a Monitoring and Supervisory Checklist for Program Partners: Vitamin Angels launched a monitoring and supervisory checklist on their mobile app to help program partners assess their organization’s supply availability, training, performance of service providers, and amount of inventory remaining to improve their programs.

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Other highlights from the year include:

  • Joined the Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Consortium. The Consortium works to improve maternal nutrition through collective action to accelerate availability and effective use of MMS in low- and middle-income countries. Vitamin Angels’ Senior Vice President for Nutrition, Dr. Kristen M. Hurley, serves on the organization’s steering committee.
  • MMS was added to the World Health Organization’s Model List of Essential Medicines (EML). In October 2021, following a letter of support on the topic from Vitamin Angels and other public health organizations, WHO announced their decision to include MMS as an antenatal supplement for pregnant women. The press release states that this decision “market an important milestone in advancing maternal and child health globally,” in part by providing a standard for country governments to include MMS on national EMLs.
  • Corporate partner impact achievements. Vitamin Angels saw a 22% increase in corporate partnerships in 2021. One example: Walgreens reached 300m women and children through their partnership with Vitamin Angels, and launched a new Prenatal Pilot Program in Chicago, which distributes free prenatal vitamins and minerals to underserved pregnant women in 16 Chicago Walgreens stores. Another example: SmartyPants reached 20m women and children, and set a new goal of 100m reached by the end of 2022.
  • Launched a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Initiative. Vitamin Angels appointed a DEI Council and subcommittees, launched a DEI Action Plan and Culture App, and provided the time and resources for all Vitamin Angels staff to participate in a DEI-focused training. The action plan focuses on six key areas: hiring, training, career advancement, partnerships, communications, and leadership.

Looking ahead to 2022, Vitamin Angels plans to continue its work with an expanded range of interventions delivered as an integrated package.