In countries with low calcium intake, supplementation is recommended during antenatal care to prevent pre-eclampsia. Under USAID’s predecessor Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program (MCHIP), two nutrition symposiums on introduction of calcium supplementation provided a platform for Program staff and expert panel presenters to discuss World Health Organization guidelines and recent global scientific evidence supporting global recommendations. MCHIP provided guidance on implementing maternal calcium supplementation programs, building on experience with anemia control programs.
MCHIP’s original market research and pilot on calcium supplementation in Nepal provides operational information for calcium introduction in other countries. At the symposiums, MCHIP and country-level program participants identified next steps for introducing calcium as well as issues to consider when operationalizing calcium supplementation, given country-level constraints, interest and funding.