On April 28, 2020, Summit Institute of Development (SID) became a panelist for a digital event as part of our Improving Nutrition focus area hosted by  Devex and DSM. The event’s aim was to highlight the importance of multiple micronutrient supplements (MMS) as a driver to improve maternal nutrition and share insights on existing and future interventions to ensure that all women have access to MMS during pregnancy and understand their benefits.

Inraini Syah representing SID as panelist shared a country perspective on MMS implementation that is community-driven and applied locally. SID conducted the first large scale MMS trial in pregnant women enrolling and following-up over 30,000 pregnant women in Indonesia, a large scale cluster-randomized double-blind trial known as the Supplementation with Multiple Micronutrients Intervention Trial (SUMMIT). The result of this study showed an 18% reduction in infant death, a 30% reduction in post-neonatal mortality, a 38% reduction in infant death among anemic women, and a 25% reduction in infant death among undernourished women with the use of MMS. This number was achievable with the context of high participation rates and compliance. During the study, it recorded compliance of 85%.

SID also shared the Indonesian maternal iron and folic acid (IFA) supplementation program for pregnant women that has been a national program since 1970. However, based on Indonesia Basic Health Research in 2018, national IFA compliance is still only 38%. Many factors contribute to this low compliance, including from the perspective of the mothers themselves, health workers and the health system, and project planning and implementation. This means that it is important to consider the encouragement of pregnant women to take MMS and improve the health worker’s quality through training, certification, coaching, and providing incentives. 

During this COVID-19 pandemic, the main challenges to the program implementation include physical distancing rule between pregnant women and health workers, less access to antenatal care, and the economic breakdown. But SID together with other stakeholders will keep working to provide the best care to mothers amid the pandemic, such as providing service and supplements.

As the closing, SID encouraged to keep working together to close the gaps on maternal nutrition by providing a solution such as MMS, with a comprehensive approach to save the mothers and children and keep thriving, winning the fight with COVID-19. 

Watch the webinar here: https://pages.devex.com/improving-prenatal-nutrition.html#NULL