The first 1,000 days in a child’s development begin at the start of pregnancy and continue up to his/her 2nd birthday. During this period, the child and his/her mother are particularly vulnerable to malnutrition.
The mother’s health during pregnancy, best feeding practices (exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, continuing to breastfeed until the age of 2, quality complementary foods), and best hygiene and healthcare practices are vital to prevent malnutrition during this period of opportunity where the positive impact on nutrition is possible over the long term.
Women of childbearing age, pregnant and subsequently breastfeeding women and young children must benefit from foods adapted to suit their nutritional requirements. Urban families are increasingly using ready-to-eat foods in Ouagadougou, Niamey and Bamako. Manufactured fortified food products are therefore an interesting alternative to pre-prepared food products with low nutritional quality.
With the MERIEM project, quality fortified food products are developed and put on the market for:
- children between the ages of 6 months and 2 years. These food products are consumed as a complement to breastmilk. They provide young children, who have a very small stomach, with the nutrients necessary to cover their needs, in proportions adapted to suit their young age.
- Women of childbearing age. Future mothers in an inadequate nutritional state during pregnancy and breastfeeding protect their babies from the risks associated with malnutrition in mothers.