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Setting research priorities on multiple micronutrient supplementation in pregnancy.


Prenatal micronutrient deficiencies are associated with negative maternal and birth outcomes. Multiple micronutrient supplementation (MMS) during pregnancy is a cost-effective intervention to reduce these adverse outcomes. However, important knowledge gaps remain in the implementation of MMS interventions. The Child Health and Nutrition Research Initiative (CHNRI) methodology was applied to inform the direction of research and investments needed to support the implementation of MMS interventions for pregnant women in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). Following CHNRI methodology guidelines, a group of international experts in nutrition and maternal health provided and ranked the research questions that most urgently need to be resolved for prenatal MMS interventions to be successfully implemented. Seventy-three research questions were received, analyzed, and reorganized, resulting in 35 consolidated research questions. These were scored against four criteria, yielding a priority ranking where the top 10 research options focused on strategies to increase antenatal care attendance and MMS adherence, methods needed to identify populations more likely to benefit from MMS interventions and some discovery issues (e.g., potential benefit of extending MMS through lactation). This exercise prioritized 35 discrete research questions that merit serious consideration for the potential of MMS during pregnancy to be optimized in LMIC.

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