A component of poor nutrition is micronutrient deficiency, which can have devasting impacts on maternal health and pregnancy outcomes. Over half of adolescent girls and young women in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs) have inadequate micornutrient intake. Rates of anemia in women of reproductive age increased between 2000 and 2016 - from 31.6 percent to 32.8 percent globally - and little progress has been made in recent years. Because of this and other factors, more than 300,000 women currently die from pregnancy or childbirth-related complications. And each year, ~20.5 million babies are born with low birth weight (LBW), accounting for 14.6 percent of all births worldwide, with the majority in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
The burden of micronutrient deficiencies is still poorly understood in most countries because of vast data gaps and a lack of clear global and national guidance. This applies equally to potential solutions. The good news is that the tide is turning. Catalytic commitments have been made to make multiple micronutrient supplementation (MMS) available to those who need it. the most, and research from the past two decades has demonstrated a solid evidence base and documented the widespread need for new approaches to combat deficiencies in key vitamins and minerals. New evidence and specific requests from individual countries have also inspired a sea change in the international community. There is no turning back.
This Sight and Life Special Report: Focusing on MMS compiles and curates the latest evidence, experience from the field and resources for scale-up. It aims to serve as an important resource for decision-makers and implementers, thereby driving the introduction and adoption of MMS.