Vitamin Angels bridges nutritional divide
Vitamin Angels started 2021 with the goal of reducing the barriers around access to essential nutrition for children and pregnant women across the globe by providing prenatal vitamins and minerals, vitamin A and deworming, as well as supplementary feeding.
In 2021, Vitamin Angels was able to reach a total of 70 million underserved pregnant women and children in 65 countries, including all 50 US states and Puerto Rico, through their network of 1,200 program partners.
Howard Schiffer, Vitamin Angels Founder & President, said that although last year was tough, the Vitamin Angels team was able to expand their reach with the support of corporate partners and donors, whom gave more generously in 2021 than ever before.
According to the public health nonprofit, it received a 22% increase in corporate partnerships in 2021 with long-standing partners. Notably, Walgreens achieved a reach of 300 million women and children through their partnership with Vitamin Angels, and also launched a new prenatal pilot program in Chicago. Other corporate partners who gave generously in 2021 included SmartyPants, Bayer and Goli Nutrition.
“COVID-19 has had undeniable effects on the communities we serve. Government health programs have been delayed or postponed. Food supply chains have been disrupted. The need for our nutrition programs is now greater than ever. We have been working alongside our program partners on the ground to respond to the changing landscape to deliver services in a safe and effective manner,” Schiffer told NutraIngredients-USA. “We are seeing unparalleled acts of bravery, kindness, and resilience from our global community of health workers. From curbside delivery of our prenatal vitamins and minerals to expecting moms in Iowa, to nutritional advice distributed via mobile carriers in South Africa, around the world our community and supply chains continue to adapt so that every child everywhere has the opportunity for a healthy start.”
Efforts in focus
The nonprofit has a number of initiatives they are rolling out, including expanded implementation research, strengthening its monitoring and evaluation programs and launching a monitoring and supervisory checklist for program partners.
Vitamin Angels expanded its implementation research activities across 9 countries to further inform the introduction, implementation, and scale-up of its MMS program (prenatal vitamins and minerals). These countries included Indonesia, Mexico, Vietnam, Cambodia, Haiti, Thailand, Brazil, South Africa, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The nonprofit strengthened its monitoring and evaluation programs to more accurately track decreased barriers to coverage, effective implementation, and increased coverage.
Vitamin Angels also launched a monitoring and supervisory checklist on their mobile app to help program partners assess their organization's supply availability, training, performance of service providers, and amount of inventory remaining to improve their programs.
In addition to the above, Vitamin Angels plans to continue positively impacting the health and economic well-being of incrementally more women and children with an expanded range of interventions delivered as an integrated package.
“Our package of proven interventions focus on the first 2000 days of life: pregnancy through five years of life. Our interventions are determined by nutritional needs and gaps in coverage,” said Schiffer. “ We will continue positively impacting the health and economic well-being of more women and children by expanding our reach to underserved communities and by strengthening our proven nutrition services provided by our local and national program partners.”