Action - Nutrition International - Philippines - Maternal Nutrition Program - Iron and folic acid supplementation - Pregnant women (PW)

Programme: Nutrition International - Philippines - Maternal Nutrition Program

Programme description

Pregnancy and the postnatal period are critical times for ensuring the health and wellbeing of women and their children. Anaemia during pregnancy is common and can have serious consequences for both mother and child, including increased risk of low birthweight and preterm birth, as well as maternal and perinatal mortality.[1&2] Iron deficiency is a major cause of anaemia among pregnant women.[3] Iron requirements increase substantially during pregnancy and it is difficult to meet these needs with food alone. Based on evidence of reduced risk of anaemia, iron deficiency and other adverse outcomes including having a low birthweight baby, WHO recommends daily iron and folic acid (IFA) supplementation throughout pregnancy, together with appropriate nutrition counselling.[4] This is in addition to a series of other recommendations for nutrition interventions as part of antenatal care for a positive pregnancy experience and other important maternal and child outcomes.[4]

Nutrition International contributes to improving Maternal Nutrition in the Philippines by:

  • Providing support to the Department of Health’s (DOH) framework for the First 1000 Days (F1KD) which delivers an integrated package of maternal newborn and child health and nutrition (MNCHN), and improving delivery of quality antenatal care (ANC), including nutrition counseling, and provision and consumption of at least 180 IFA supplements during pregnancy.
  • Promoting an enabling environment through advocacy among key decision-makers at the national level and supported at the local level by formulation and passage of local ordinances for continued commitment to MNCHN, including ensuring adequate supply of IFA supplements at all levels.
  • Supporting the revision and/or update of related DOH policies and guidelines on the nutrition of the women of reproductive age (WRA) including pregnant and lactating mothers, and the Manual of Operations on Micronutrient Supplementation.
  • Building Capacity of frontline workers (midwives and community health and nutrition volunteers) to deliver continuum of services in the F1KD, with focus on IFA supplementation.
  • Supporting the establishment and operationalization of community-based mother to mother support groups composed of pregnant women and mothers with children 0-23 months.
  • Enhancing Behaviour Change Interventions.
  • Supporting the development and implementation of a system to track adherence to IFA supplementation.
  • Supporting conducting of monthly nutrition review meetings to monitor progress of service delivery and promote accountability for targeted nutrition outcomes.

This work is implemented in partnership with DOH-Family Health Office (FHO) and National Nutrition Council (NNC), the health and nutrition offices at the regional, provincial and municipal levels, Helen Keller International and UNICEF in 45 municipalities in seven provinces of Antique, Bohol, Camarines Norte, Cebu, Iloilo and Zamboanga del Norte. NI support to Maternal Nutrition programming in the Philippines began in 2016 and is ongoing. 

Programme type



  1. Allen, L. H. (2000). Anemia and iron deficiency: Effects on pregnancy outcome. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,71(5). doi:10.1093/ajcn/71.5.1280s
  2. Black, R. E., Victora, C. G., Walker, S. P., Bhutta, Z. A., Christian, P., Onis, M. D., . . . Uauy, R. (2013). Maternal and child undernutrition and overweight in low-income and middle-income countries. The Lancet,382(9890), 427-451. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(13)60937-x
  3. WHO. The global prevalence of anaemia in 2011. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2015. 
  4. WHO. (2016). WHO recommendations on antenatal care for a positive pregnancy experience. (Rep.). doi:

For more information:

Target group: 
Pregnant women (PW)

Revision log

Tue, 10/23/2018 - 16:27zillmerkpublishedpublished
Tue, 10/23/2018 - 15:06GINAadminNIpublishedneeds_review
Tue, 10/23/2018 - 14:50zillmerkpublisheddelegated
Mon, 10/22/2018 - 19:57GINAadminNIpublishedneeds_review
Mon, 10/22/2018 - 18:54zillmerkpublishedpublished
Mon, 10/22/2018 - 15:34GINAadminNIAction edited by GINAadminNI.needs_review
Mon, 10/22/2018 - 15:33GINAadminNIAction edited by GINAadminNI.draft
Tue, 10/02/2018 - 16:18engesveenkEdited by GINAadminNI.published
Tue, 10/02/2018 - 13:20engesveenkEdited by engesveenk.delegated
Thu, 09/27/2018 - 21:44vhollaEdited by vholla.needs_review
Thu, 09/27/2018 - 18:06vhollaEdited by vholla.draft
Thu, 09/27/2018 - 18:05vhollaAction created by vholla.draft