Bayer launches initiative to help underserved communities combat malnutrition

February 11, 2021 | 06:00 pm GMT+7
The Nutrient Gap Initiative launched by Bayer will expand access to vitamins and minerals for specifically pregnant women and children, reaching 100 million underserved people by 2030.

As a part of the company’s "Health for All, Hunger for None" vision, the program hopes to reach 50 million people in underserved communities per year by 2030 through direct action and in partnership with critical non-governmental organizations (NGOs), with a focus on intervention, education, and advocacy.

The Nutrient Gap Initiative will enable access to everyday health for 100 million underserved people by 2030.

According to Bayer's research, almost 50 percent of young women and adolescent girls in low- and middle-income countries have inadequate vitamin and mineral intake1 while at least half of children worldwide under age five suffer from this deficiency. The consequences of vitamin and mineral deficiencies worsen gradually over time, resulting in significant health consequences across the lifespan and ultimately exacerbates the cycle of poverty.

"As a leader and expert in supplemental nutrition, we know how important these nutrients are to help ensure health for all, particularly for vulnerable populations who need it most, like underserved women and children," said Heiko Schipper, president of the Consumer Health Division of Bayer AG and member of the Board of Management.

"Having a healthy baby is a concern for every parent and parent-to-be everywhere around the world and through The Nutrient Gap Initiative, we plan on creating programs that would help give babies the best start in life today and for generations to come."

The Nutrient Gap Initiative will begin with a focus on pregnant women and babies

The Nutrient Gap Initiative will begin with a focus on pregnant women and babies

The company’s work will begin with a focus on pregnant women and babies, given they are among the most vulnerable and need even more support due to the impact of Covid-19. Preventing vitamin and mineral deficiencies early in pregnancy can help mitigate poor pregnancy outcomes, including stunted growth and impaired neurological development, which lead to long-term health and economic consequences for individuals and societies.

Bayer is committed to helping all parents and parents-to-be have a happy and healthy baby and is working with several partners to bring prenatal interventions to underserved communities.

The program aims to reach up to four million underserved pregnant women and their babies annually with a daily Multiple Micronutrient Supplementation (MMS) intervention in partnership with global non-governmental organization Vitamin Angels and its partners.

MMS is a formulation of essential vitamins and minerals that women need to help ensure their health, a healthy pregnancy, and healthy baby.

Programs will be implemented to ensure high adherence and acceptance by the population, and to encourage the inclusion of this prenatal intervention into regular local antenatal health services to help impact the first 1,000 days of life (during pregnancy and through the first two years).

Interventions will begin in Indonesia, Mexico, the United States and Vietnam and will roll out to other countries in subsequent years.

It also includes developing a nutrition education curriculum with Vitamin Angels and other partners to empower healthcare professionals and pregnant women in underserved communities. This program will effectively introduce and scale MMS for pregnant women.

The company's leading prenatal brand Elevit™, which is committed to helping more babies have a healthy start in life, has created Every Beginning, an initiative to build global awareness for prenatal nutrition deficiency and help parents and parents-to-be connect through universal experiences and gain access to vital nutrients.

The program will advance support for women and girls in driving their own healthcare in partnership with White Ribbon Alliance.

Currently, only 70 percent of low- and middle-income communities have access to iron-folic acid (IFA) during pregnancy, which is no longer considered sufficient, based on recent World Health Organization guidelines. Through this work, Bayer aims to help close this gap by partnering with leading NGOs across sectors to launch a cross-industry collaboration to support the global movement around maternal health. The goal is to drive collective action and scale MMS access.

 
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