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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Food and nutrition bulletin
Title Public health interventions, barriers, and opportunities for improving maternal nutrition in Northeast Nigeria
Volume 33
Issue 2 suppl1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2012
Page numbers S51-S70
URL http://fnb.sagepub.com/content/33/2_suppl1/S51.full.pdf
Background. Efficacious strategies to improve maternal
nutrition and subsequent maternal, neonatal, and child
health exist, but their utilization and application at scale
is limited.
Objective. This study explored the gaps, barriers, and
opportunities for maternal nutrition policy and programming
in Nigeria, a country with a disproportionate share
of the global burden of maternal and child mortality
Methods. Research was conducted in three phases
in four Local Government Authorities in Taraba State.
Phase 1 consisted of a desk review of policies, programs,
and sociodemographic and health indicators pertinent to
maternal nutrition. In-depth interviews were conducted
with key informants in state and local ministries of health
as well as international nongovernmental organizations
and community- and faith-based organizations. Phase
2 utilized in-depth interviews and focus group discussions
with community leaders, health promoters, and
mothers. Phase 3 consisted of key informant interviews
with federal policy and program leaders in government
ministries and nongovernmental organizations.
Results. Nutrition, especially maternal nutrition, is
not prioritized and is poorly funded in both the governmental
and the nongovernmental systems. Perceived
weak advocacy for nutrition and its role in economic
development and the lack of coordination among governmental
and nongovernmental actors were said to
contribute to low prioritization. Dependence on health
facilities as the primary platform for delivering maternal
nutrition is problematic, given severe resource constraints
and perceived community barriers, including cost, distance,
and poor quality of care.
Conclusions. Advocacy for maternal nutrition that
improves understanding of its consequences for health
and economic development could hasten prioritization,
coordination, and investment in maternal nutrition at
the national, state, and local levels. Innovative, multisectoral
strategies that move beyond facility-based platforms
are needed to reduce the burden of maternal undernutrition
in Northeast Nigeria.

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