Testing Calcium Supplementation Through Community Based Service Delivery Mechanisms to Prevent Preeclampsia

Plan International USA, Inc.
Organization Location: 
Washington, DC, USA

Preeclampsia is the leading cause of maternal death in Nepal and daily calcium consumption has been proven in a clinical setting to reduce preeclampsia. Unfortunately, daily consumption of calcium is not typical in rural and disadvantaged communities in Nepal. In order to improve calcium distribution, delivery methods must be community-based and combined with behavior change strategies. Plan will test this assumption by piloting these two variables through Pregnant Women Group's (PWGs) and compare the outcomes with control areas where calcium has been distributed through government facilities. We predict that in the intervention areas, PWGs will stimulate demand for calcium among pregnant women and their families; increase pregnant women’s consumption of calcium tablets and local calcium-rich foods; and decrease cases of preeclampsia. If this project is successful, calcium tablet supplementation will 1) likely become a part of the essential package of Nepal’s Community-Based Newborn Care Program with PWGs as a proven and effective service delivery method; and 2) reduce maternal mortality caused by preeclampsia. This project will utilize PWGs as a service delivery platform to test distribution and consumption of calcium using a community-owned process, which will simultaneously increase demand for calcium, and ultimately reduce preeclampsia related deaths in women. We believe that due to PWGs community-based model that creates self and group accountability through a peer-to-peer support mechanism, we will significantly improve the consumption of and demand for calcium among pregnant women.