Teaching the essentials of maternal nutrition

newborns ethiopia

The School of Nursing is expanding its efforts to ensure the survival of mothers and their newborns in Ethiopia, aided by a $4.5 million grant from the Micronutrient Initiative. The four-year project will help expectant and new mothers learn about the vitamins and minerals necessary for good health.

This new project builds on the success of the Maternal and Newborn Health in Ethiopia Partnership (MaNHEP), established by the School of Nursing in 2010 with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. MaNHEP provides a community-based model for improving maternal and newborn health (MNH) in rural areas. Today, six districts in the Amhara and Oromia regions are using the model to strengthen the provision of MNH services during the first 48 hours after birth, when mothers and newborns are most vulnerable. With the new grant, the School of Nursing will introduce the model to the Afar region with an added focus on improving maternal nutrition.

Lynn Sibley PhD RN FAAN FACNM, associate professor of nursing, and Abebe Gebremariam Gobyzayehu MPH, a faculty member at Ethiopia’s Jimma University, lead the project in collaboration with the Micronutrient Initiative. All work closely with the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health and the regional health bureau and district health offices in Afar to introduce the MNH model in communities and expand it nationwide. In doing so, they will improve the capacity of frontline health care workers, including volunteers and traditional birth attendants, in providing maternal and newborn services during pregnancy and around the time of birth. Ultimately, their efforts will increase demand for these services and promote healthy self-care behaviors, including essential maternal nutrition.—Jasmine G. Hoffman

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