Action - Nutrition International - Nigeria - Maternal Nutrition Program - Nutrition counselling - Pregnant women (PW)

Programme: Nutrition International - Nigeria - 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 Nigeria by:

  • Collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Health and State Ministries of Health to increase the quality of antenatal care (ANC), including nutrition counseling, and the provision and consumption of IFA supplements in pregnancy. 
  • Working closely with our implementing partners (PLAN Nigeria and UNICEF Nigeria) to strengthen routine health systems (i.e. move away from campaign-based distribution of IFA) and strengthen supply chains through technical assistance at the State level.
  • Promoting an enabling environment through advocacy among key decision-makers for commitment to Maternal Nutrition, including for ensuring an adequate supply of quality IFA supplements at all levels and increased coordination, as well as increasing access to ANC for hard-to-reach women in the North of the country.
  • Developing and implementing a behavior change communication strategy, including strengthening community-based platforms for reaching pregnant and postnatal women; as well as targeting males and community leaders on the importance of ANC and IFA.
  • Supporting program monitoring and assessment, and use of this information to inform decision-making.  

This work is in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Health, State Ministries of Health (Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara and Katsina states), PLAN Nigeria and UNICEF Nigeria. NI has supported Maternal Nutrition programming in Nigeria since 2015 and support 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 - 16:24zillmerkpublishedpublished
Tue, 10/23/2018 - 15:17GINAadminNIpublishedneeds_review
Mon, 10/22/2018 - 18:56zillmerkpublishedpublished
Mon, 10/22/2018 - 15:30GINAadminNIEdited by GINAadminNI.needs_review
Mon, 10/22/2018 - 15:29GINAadminNIAction created by GINAadminNI.draft