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Empowering Maternal Health: Rita's Collaborative Journey with Wellbeing Foundation Africa, Nutrition International, and UNFPA

The strategic partnership between the Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and Nutrition International exemplifies a resounding commitment to advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Together, we have orchestrated a transformative mission to introduce and execute the Reproductive, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health – Nutrition Program in Nigeria, aligning seamlessly with the principles of the Nutrition Leverage and Influence for Transformation (N-LIFT) initiative. Rooted in the essence of SDG 3—Good Health and Well-Being, N-LIFT pioneers an innovative approach, harmonizing nutrition interventions within pre-existing developmental platforms that may not inherently prioritize nutrition. This program has been made possible through the munificence of the Government of Canada, channeled via Global Affairs Canada, with Nutrition International investing up to $2 million (CAD) to seamlessly weave nutrition components into the fabric of existing UNFPA sexual and reproductive health services.

In 2018, the WBFA emerged as a formidable Implementing Partner (IP), joining hands with UNFPA to channel the momentum of global advocacy into tangible action. Under the banner of MamaCare + Nutrition program, operating within the influential advocacy platform MamaCare360, the WBFA assumed the pivotal role of delivering Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH) services. With an unwavering focus on maternal nutrition counseling within the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, the program's transformative influence radiated across 30 strategically chosen health facilities. These facilities, ingeniously distributed across the six Area Councils of Abuja—Abaji, Abuja Municipal, Bwari, Gwagwalada, Kuje, and Kwali—nurtured a nurturing ecosystem for change.

Amidst this dynamic landscape, Rita Momoh, a seasoned nurse-midwife with the WBFA, embodies the spirit of empowerment, equality, and health for all. Harnessing 15 years of invaluable experience and informed by her own journey as a mother, Rita serves as a beacon of understanding and empathy for expectant mothers across the nation. In her compassionate pursuit, she confronts the persistent challenge of anaemia, a critical concern whose impact reverberates through the well-being of both mothers and their unborn children.

Within the context of Nigeria, the staggering prevalence of anaemia—impacting 48.9 percent of non-pregnant women and a substantial 57.9 percent of pregnant women—reflects a global challenge. Women worldwide contend with barriers impeding access to accurate nutrition information and essential iron-folic acid supplementation (IFAS), which is critical for mitigating anaemia. Responding to this call, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) extends sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services to adolescent girls and women across more than 45 countries.

WBFA's resolute commitment materializes through the sensitization of Ward Development Committee (WDC) members across 30 wards, fostering the delivery of RMNCAH and nutrition counseling through skilled nurses/midwives. A symphony of change is further orchestrated through supportive supervision, extending its embrace to the 30 health facilities dispensing maternal nutrition counseling at vital service delivery points: antenatal clinics (ANC), postnatal clinics (PNC), and family planning (FP) centers. This comprehensive endeavor reflects a harmonious synergy with UNFPA and Nutrition International's overarching objectives: enhancing dietary diversity, nurturing heightened demand for RMNCAH and nutrition services, strengthening the skills and capacity of healthcare workers, and nurturing demand that cascades into elevated nutrition knowledge, attitudes, and practices within the community.

The transformative ripples of this collaboration continue to expand. Over 1,600 nurses and midwives have already been trained, emblematic of the formidable impact of a partnership between the Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA) and its visionary allies. Strategically entwined with ministries, this initiative integrates seamlessly into the architecture of state-run nurse license renewal training. Each passing month heralds the emergence of new nurses, equipped with skills vital for serving expectant mothers. Rooted within the state-run program, the WBFA-fueled nutrition training emerges as a potent catalyst, poised to extend its transformative embrace to encompass all nurses and midwives across Nigeria. Through the tenacity of these healthcare professionals, countless women stand to gain invaluable insights into nutrition, offering a safeguard against anaemia and paving the way for pregnancies characterized by safety and well-being. The strategic alliance with WBFA serves as an unshakable foundation for the expansion and triumph of this pivotal initiative.

Bound by a shared commitment to amplify the impact of nutrition and family planning interventions, Nutrition International, Wellbeing Foundation Africa, and UNFPA channel their energies into advancing the SDGs. This collective endeavor seeks to decisively reduce anaemia-related health issues for women and adolescent girls, echoing the spirit of SDG 3—Good Health and Well-Being. This commitment assumes tangible form through a groundbreaking collaborative pilot project, operating seamlessly within the Wellbeing Foundation Africa's Mamacare360 program in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). A beacon of integrated collaboration, this initiative empowers UNFPA to holistically address the needs of pregnant women, seamlessly intertwining essential nutrition interventions into the established fabric of reproductive and maternal health outreach facilitated by Mamacare360 in diverse hospitals.

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