Junaid Family Foundation and Kirk Humanitarian work to stabilize undernutrition and anemia among millions of flood-affected pregnant women in Pakistan
— Ansir Junaid
CLEVELAND, OHIO, USA, Dec. 18, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ — The Junaid Family Foundation and Kirk Humanitarian today announced the joint donation of up to 2 million bottles of United Nations multiple micronutrient prenatal formula (UNIMMAP MMS) to the Government of Pakistan through the National Disaster Management Association (NDMA) to meet the urgent nutritional needs of pregnant women displaced by catastrophic floods in the Sindh region and elsewhere in Pakistan.
This donation is an emergency extension of assistance from an existing prenatal program in collaboration with the MNHSP launched in 2020 which supports the free distribution of MMS and education around prenatal nutrition to women who otherwise would not. would not have access. Over 1 million bottles are currently on the way with immediate distribution plans in 3 key regions, Sindh, Balochistan and KPK.
Maternal nutrition during pregnancy is essential for the health and survival of both mother and child. Outside of crisis situations, Pakistan’s statistics on the health of pregnant women and infants are among the most worrying in the world.  Inadequate nutrition is a significant factor in morbidity and mortality outcomes affecting both populations. Micronutrient deficiencies are widespread throughout Pakistan, with anemia being a common condition and significant deficiencies in other key micronutrients including vitamin A, vitamin D and zinc. Similar deficiencies are also prevalent in infants and children. 
Monsoon rains and the resulting floods last summer left around a third of the country under water. Economic losses and damages are estimated at over $30 billion with reconstruction needs of over $16 billion.  A major food crisis is looming in Pakistan, making the 1.5 million pregnant women displaced by this situation even more vulnerable. According to Ansir Junaid, trustee and president of the Junaid Family Foundation, “The destruction caused by the floods in much of Pakistan is beyond comprehension. Starvation due to the loss of food stores and food processing and transportation infrastructure across the country is felt significantly by millions of people. Pregnant women and infants are the most vulnerable of all, and we are committed to providing aid to help alleviate some of that suffering.
The evidence supporting the use of MMS, particularly the UNIMMAP formulation, to improve outcomes for pregnant women and infants is well supported. According to studies published by the Lancet  and the New York Academy of Sciences,  the use of prenatal supplements containing 15 micronutrients promotes improved infant survival (29% reduction in neonatal mortality) and reduces the incidence of low birth weight and small births for the gestational age, especially in anemic mothers. UNIMMAP MMS is the only prenatal nutritional supplement approved by both the United Nations and WHO for complementary nutrition in public health nutrition programs.
Over the past 2 decades, Kirk Humanitarian has worked to improve maternal and child health by expanding global access to MMS UNIMMAP. Kirk Humanitarian manufactures and gives free UNIIMMAP MMS to qualified recipients who have the capacity to distribute products to women in need. Through Kirk Humanitarian’s partnership with the Junaid Family Foundation, a program was designed and launched in conjunction with the MNHSP to facilitate the introduction and eventual inclusion of UNIMMAP MMS administration as a standardized antenatal health practice in the Pakistan. Spencer Kirk, Managing Director of Kirk Humanitarian, said: “In emergencies such as this, it is extremely important to meet the immediate nutritional needs of pregnant women with MMS, especially the International Multi-Micronutrient Prenatal Formula for United Nations (UNIMMAP MMS). At the same time, we have supported and will continue to support long-term, sustainable implementation efforts to introduce and expand UNIMMAP MMS in low- and middle-income countries using a science-based approach to implementation.
Last year, the Junaid Family Foundation and Kirk Humanitarian started a pilot program with MMS UNIMMAP bottles (126K) distributed in 7 districts of Pakistan. The results to date align with previous MMS studies supporting that MMS has low side effects with low dropout rates. Given the current crisis in the country, the Junaid Family Foundation and Kirk Humanitarian have pledged increased support to help those who have been displaced by the floods and who do not have access to life-saving food.
1 Aziz et al. Reprod Health 2020, 17(Suppl 3):190 https://doi.org/10.1186/s12978-020-01023-5
2 Ministry of National Health Services Nutrition Wing, 2018. National Nutrition Survey 2018 Key Findings Report: 6.
3 World Bank Group. (2022b, October 28). Pakistan: Floods and economic losses over USD 30 billion and reconstruction needs over USD 16 billion – New assessment. World Bank. https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2022/10/28/pakistan-flood-damages-and-economic-losses-over-usd-30-billion-and-reconstruction-needs- more than 16 billion US dollars
4 Smith et al., The Lancet Global Health 5 (11) (November): e1090-e1100.
5 Black et al, Ann NY Acad Sci. May 2019; 1444(1): 3-5.
The Junaid Family Foundation