Vitamin Angels, a public health nonprofit working to improve nutrition worldwide, focused their efforts in 2021 on reducing the barriers to accessing essential nutrition that underserved pregnant women and children face in the U.S. and around the world. As a result, Vitamin Angels program partners were able to extend their health and nutrition services further than ever before.
“Although 2021 was a tough year for our world, I am so proud of the Vitamin Angels team for continuing our work and expanding our reach to even more women and children who need essential nutrition the most,” said Howard Schiffer, Vitamin Angels Founder & President. “Our achievements wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our long-standing corporate partners and donors, whom gave more generously in 2021 than ever before.”
At the conclusion of 2021, Vitamin Angels reached a total of 70 million underserved pregnant women and children in 65 countries, including all 50 U.S. states and Puerto Rico, through their network of 1,200 program partners.
Specific initiatives that further expanded reach and supported program partners included:
Expanded Implementation Research: 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 DRC.
Strengthened Monitoring and Evaluation Programs: Vitamin Angels strengthened its monitoring and evaluation programs to more accurately track decreased barriers to coverage, effective implementation, and increased coverage.
Launched a Monitoring and Supervisory Checklist for Program Partners: Vitamin Angels 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.
Other organization highlights from the year included:
Vitamin Angels Joined the Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Consortium
Vitamin Angels joined the Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Consortium, which works to improve maternal nutrition through collective action by the Consortium members to accelerate availability and effective use of MMS in low-and middle income countries. Vitamin Angels Senior Vice President for Nutrition, Dr. Kristen M. Hurley serves on the steering committee for the organization.
MMS was Added to the World Health Organization’s Model List of Essential Medicines
Vitamin Angels, alongside other public health organizations and stakeholders around the world, submitted a letter of support to WHO advocating for MMS to be added to the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines. In October 2021, WHO announced their decision to include MMS in their EML as an antenatal supplement for pregnant women. The decision marked an important milestone in advancing maternal and child health globally, most notably by providing a standard for country governments to include MMS on national EMLs.
Corporate Partner Impact Achievements
Vitamin Angels welcomed a 22% increase in corporate partnerships in 2021 with its long-standing partners giving more generously than ever before. Walgreens achieved a significant milestone of reaching 300M women and children through their partnership with Vitamin Angels, as well as launched a new Prenatal Pilot Program in Chicago. The program distributes free prenatal vitamins and minerals to underserved pregnant women in 16 Chicago Walgreens stores. Other corporate partners who gave generously in 2021 included SmartyPants (who marked the milestone of reaching 20M women and children and set a new goal of 100M reached by the end of 2022), Bayer, and Goli Nutrition.
Launched a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiative
Vitamin Angels appointed a DEI Council and subcommittees, launched a DEI Action Plan and Culture App, as well as provided the time and resources for all Vitamin Angels staff to participate in a DEI-focused training. The Vitamin Angels DEI action plan focused on 6 key areas: hiring, training, career advancement, partnerships, communications, and leadership. In 2022, the Vitamin Angels DEI council will focus on furthering the execution of prioritized DEI actions and measuring results.
Looking ahead to 2022, 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.