Santa Barbara, CA – Vitamin Angels, an international aid charity, will spearhead a global effort to reduce newborn mortality rates by scaling up its prenatal multivitamin program to meet the needs of 50 million women annually by the year 2030. The announcement comes just days before International Women’s Day, this Thursday, March 8th. With an estimated 7,000 newborns dying daily per data released by UNICEF, Vitamin Angels is rallying support to address this urgent issue. By increasing the distribution of prenatal multivitamins to existing and new field partners across its network of more than 1,200 organizations, Vitamin Angels will support improved birth outcomes and save newborn lives on a global scale.
“We are leading the way in this new prenatal initiative because there is a pressing need to prevent newborn deaths,” said Howard Schiffer, President and Founder of Vitamin Angels. “Vitamin Angels is uniquely positioned to address the problem by deploying a proven intervention, prenatal multivitamins, through our existing network of field partners who work with the most vulnerable populations worldwide.”
Evidence from publications in the Cochrane Report and The Lancet indicates that the provision of multivitamins to women starting early in pregnancy provides clear benefits for both women and their unborn and newborn infants. The benefits may be even greater for anemic pregnant women, reducing newborn mortality rates in the first 6 months by up to 29%.
“Giving multiple micronutrients to women during pregnancy is one of the most critical public health interventions for women and their children. It prevents babies from being born too soon and too small, both of which increase the risk of early death,” said Dr. Robert Black, Vitamin Angels board member and professor at The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Vitamin Angels’ new goal is grounded in a solid track record for successful expansion of public health interventions targeting underserved communities. Vitamin Angels initiated its flagship vitamin A supplementation program in 2007, and has since scaled up vitamin A distribution globally – expanding its reach from under two million children reached in 2008 to over 60 million in 2017. In 2010, Vitamin Angels began large-scale deployment of albendazole, a deworming tablet, to preschool-aged children in complement with its vitamin A program. The organization, now the largest provider of vitamin A and deworming tablets to the non-profit, NGO, and faith-based community globally, will continue to support and expand these initiatives in 2018 and beyond.
Vitamin Angels’ “grass-roots” distribution model focuses on strengthening the capacity of local field partners to deliver nutritional support in coordination with national health services. This model supports field partners with existing programs that have local knowledge of the populations they serve and can absorb the incremental costs of adding nutritional support to their range of services. Vitamin Angels provides field partners with the commodities and technical assistance needed to ensure that activation of services is consistent with best practices adapted to local conditions.
Vitamin Angels helps at-risk populations in need—specifically pregnant women, new mothers, and children under five—gain access to lifesaving and life changing vitamins and minerals. Vitamin Angels works to reach underserved communities across the U.S. and in 74 countries around the world. Vitamin Angels has the highest ratings for financial transparency and accountability from Charity Navigator and GuideStar. To learn more, visit vitaminangels.org.