Multiple micronutrient powders are a public health intervention and product backed by 20 years of research. This blog briefly summarizes some important developments in the world of multiple micronutrients. In late 2018, the team at the Hospital for Sick Kids Canada submitted MNPs to the World Health Organization for consideration on its Essential Medicines List. Maternova’s Multiple Micronutrient Powder 5 component (MNP5) counters anaemia and vitamin and mineral deficiencies. The 20 dose sachets are eco-friendly, more efficient and have lower cost per saving. This specific type of micronutrient is for children 6 months to 12 years of age. The product itself is a fine, off white, odorless powder, which has little impact on the taste, smell or color of the food when mixed. Under cool and dry storage conditions, the shelf life expectation of MNP5 is 2 years. Under tropical conditions, the micronutrient has a minimum one year shelf life expectation. While Sprinkles is the original brand name, micronutrients are called a variety of names across different countries. MNPs are branded Chispitas in countries like Peru and Bolivia. According to UNICEF’s “Micronutrient Powders: Current Global Program Implementation Status and Challenges,” by 2011, 22 countries were using MNPs. By 2013, it was 43 countries. Every year, 20 million children across 65 countries are already receiving Sprinkles.
According to WHO, “MNP are an efficacious intervention for reducing iron deficiency anaemia and filling important nutrient gaps in children 6-23 months of age.” WHO also has two different sets of guidelines when it comes to micronutrients; one for infants 6 months to 23 months of age, and another for ages 24 months to 12 years. For the 6 to 23 month age group, WHO states, “In conclusion, an MNP formulation including a dose of 12.5 mg of elemental iron (as ferrous fumarate), 5 mg of zinc and 300 μg of vitamin A is effective and the addition of other vitamins and minerals could be considered within the recommended daily values for this age group.” For the older age group, “Based on the body of evidence, it was concluded that the use of iron-containing MNP for point-of-use fortification of foods can help control anemia and iron deficiency in preschool and school age children (i.e. 2-12 years of age). In conclusion, an MNP formulation including a dose of 12.5 mg of elemental iron (as ferrous fumarate), 5 mg of zinc and 300 μg of vitamin A is effective and the addition of other vitamins and minerals could be considered within the recommended daily values for this age group.”
Part of the barrier in expanding the use of multiple micronutrient powders is knowledge of the product. There is also the issue of finding access to small to medium sized quantities. Additional problems that may arise are lack of trust in a product and shipping costs. Maternova has set about to tackle these hurdles one by one.
UN Photo/Rick Bajornas
Secretary-General Visits Dominica in Wake of Hurricane Maria
Secretary-General António Guterres and his delegation visited Salybia, Dominica, to survey the local relief effort. They met with local authorities and community members during a multi-sector distribution effort, in the wake of the devastation caused by the passage of Hurricane Maria in September.
Postpartum depression (PPD) affects 1 in 7 new mothers and can lead to severe risks for both mother and baby if untreated. In 2019, the FDA approved Zulresso, a costly hospital-administered drug. Recently, the FDA approved Zurzuvae, the first oral PPD treatment, offering a more accessible and home-based option.