According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Bank, recent estimates suggest that 149.2 million children under 5 years of age are stunted as a consequence of a poor diet resulting from micronutrient deficiencies and repeated infections during early childhood.
MNPs are designed to address these deficiencies, especially when access to a diverse and nutritious diet is limited. The use of MNPs began with the 2005 school supplementations in Tanzania, when Sight and Life partnered with World Food Programme (WFP), UNICEF, Nutrition International, and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) to address iron deficiency and anemia.
While we continued to advocate for the expanded use of these powders, the Southern Java tsunami catalyzed opportunities to implement their use. The Home Fortification Technical Advisory Group was formed in 2007 and encouraged the use of MNPs in emergencies.
Today, over 16 million children are benefiting from MNPs. In 2019, WHO included MNPs in its updated Essential Medicines List (EML) and its EML for children (EMLc). UNICEF continues to procure and provide MNPs to address childhood malnutrition.
Our advocacy helped to scale the use of MNPs as an answer to micronutrient deficiencies, and Sight and Life continues to work with UN agencies in emergency responses and development situations, by providing technical capacity, scientific knowledge, and continued advocacy for micronutrition.