Health Desk--August 11, 2017: International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr'b) in a new study found that providing mothers with multiple micronutrient supplements from the early stage of pregnancy can reduce infant mortality.
The study titled MINIMat (Maternal and Infant Nutrition Interventions in Matlab Bangladesh) found that 60 percent risk of infant death was reduced by taking food and the supplements from early pregnancy compared to the mothers who took those later during pregnancy.
The study findings were disclosed at a seminar titled, “Fifteen years of MINIMat study: Implications of Child Survival, Growth, Development and Chronic Disease Markers” held in icddr,b auditorium on Thursday.
The nutrition interventions during pregnancy were found influencing the growth of children, cognitive function, social conditions as well as chronic disease risk indicators (metabolic makers) at around five years.
Maternal and child undernutrition is estimated to be the underlying cause of 3.5 million annual deaths globally. Nutritional imbalance in foetal or early life is associated with short and long-term health consequences and chronic disease risk in adulthood.
The MINIMat study commenced in 2001 and recruited 4,436 women who were given food supplements and micronutrients from early pregnancy. The women and their children were under observation and initiatives were also taken to monitor the children up to 15 years of age.
Icddr,b has also collaborated with international scientists in the effort.
Sheema Sen Gupta, deputy representative of Unicef Bangladesh, said, “Research findings of this kind must make their way to the national programme.”
Dr Shams El Arefin, icddr,b's senior director of maternal and child health division; professors from Uppsala University, Sweden, Lars Åke Persson and Eva-Charlotte Ekström; Dr Jena Hamadani and Dr Ruchira Naved and Dr Rubhana Raqib of icddr,b, also spoke.Syed Monjurul Islam, deputy executive director of icddr,b, chaired the concluding session.