Adequate maternal nutrition is critical to maintaining a pregnant woman’s health and ensuring a healthy delivery. It also reduces the risk of birth defects, ensures optimal fetal development, and reduces the likelihood that a child will develop chronic health problems later in life. USAID Advancing Nutrition is working to promote optional maternal nutrition around the world.
To help guide the design, implementation, and delivery of maternal nutrition interventions within the health system, the USAID-funded Maternal and Child Survival Program developed the Maternal Nutrition Operational Guidance: Program Considerations for Low- and Middle-Income Countries.
Testing the Guidance
In Uganda, USAID Advancing Nutrition field tested the guidance in collaboration with the USAID Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition Activity, a five-year program to improve national maternal, newborn, child health, and nutrition outcomes. The resulting Recommended Maternal Nutrition Priorities for Uganda: Findings from the Maternal Nutrition Operational Guidance Field Test details priority actions the Government of Uganda, USAID, other donors, NGOs, and implementing partners can take to improve maternal nutrition outcomes. USAID Advancing Nutrition also conducted a webinar in February of 2021 to share recommended maternal nutrition priorities for Uganda identified through the operational guidance field test.
As a result of the initial application and evaluation of the operational guidance, USAID Advancing Nutrition technical experts further refined and adapted the guidance to help other implementing partners and Ministries of Health ensure delivery of evidence-based maternal nutrition activities within the health system.
Updating the Guidance
The updated guidance, Strengthening Maternal Nutrition in Health Programs: A Guide for Practitioners, provides step-by-step recommendations to add and strengthen maternal nutrition components in programs or services delivered by the health system, including actions to strengthen the overall health system and the enabling environment. This guidance is also available in French.