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

Programme: Nutrition International - Bangladesh - 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 works in collaboration with government and other partners to improve maternal nutrition through enhancing the provision, quality and integration of health and nutrition services and empowering women and their families to seek care and adopt healthy behaviours.   

Nutrition International contributes to improving Maternal Nutrition in Bangladesh by:

  • Collaborating with the government of Bangladesh, the Institute of Public Health Nutrition, the Directorate General of Health Services, and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to scale up Maternal Health and Nutrition activities after a successful NI demonstration project in four districts in 2014, to an additional ten districts to date.  
  • Promoting an enabling environment through advocacy among key decision-makers for commitment to Maternal Nutrition.
  • Providing technical assistance for scaling up best practices
  • Supporting procurement and supply chain strengthening, as well as closing critical supply gaps
  • Rolling out an urban Maternal Health and Nutrition pilot program in slum areas of north Dhaka
  • Capacity-building of health care managers and service providers at facility and community levels, through training and mentoring/supportive supervision.
  • Developing and implementing a behavior change communication strategy.

This work is in partnership with the Government of Bangladesh, the Institute of Public Health Nutrition, the Directorate General of Health Services, and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The urban pilot program is in partnership with The Dhaka North City Corporation and Concerned Women for Family Development. The program builds on NI’s successful demonstration project in four districts from 2011-2014. NI has scaled up the program model to four new districts in 2015 (Jessore, Gaibandha, Barisal and Jamalpur), to a further six districts in 2016 (Sirajgonj, Sherpur, Bogra, Noakhali, Kishoregonj, and Sunamgoni).

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 - 16:25zillmerkpublishedpublished
Tue, 10/23/2018 - 15:12GINAadminNIpublishedneeds_review
Mon, 10/22/2018 - 18:53zillmerkpublishedpublished
Mon, 10/22/2018 - 15:45GINAadminNIAction edited by GINAadminNI.needs_review
Mon, 10/22/2018 - 15:44GINAadminNIAction edited by GINAadminNI.draft
Tue, 10/02/2018 - 16:18engesveenkEdited by GINAadminNI.published
Tue, 10/02/2018 - 13:18engesveenkEdited by engesveenk.delegated
Thu, 09/27/2018 - 21:44vhollaEdited by vholla.needs_review
Thu, 09/27/2018 - 18:11vhollaEdited by vholla.draft
Thu, 09/27/2018 - 18:10vhollaAction created by vholla.draft