Partnership will bring high-impact prenatal vitamins and minerals to women in need across Southeast Asia
U.S.-based family foundation Kirk Humanitarian today announced a landmark manufacturing agreement with Dexa Medica (member of Dexa Group), a leading Indonesian pharmaceutical company, to expand production of UNIMMAP MMS prenatal vitamins and minerals in Southeast Asia.
Over the next three years, after qualification, Dexa Medica facilities has agreed to produce 270 million doses of the globally recognized nutritional supplement known as the United Nations International Multiple Micronutrient Antenatal Preparation Multiple Micronutrient Supplements (UNIMMAP MMS), which has been recently added to the World Health Organization’s Model List of Essential Medicines.[i] UNIMMAP MMS has been shown to improve maternal health and support healthy pregnancies.[ii],[iii] The advance purchase agreement provides the working capital to procure ingredients and build the infrastructure to initiate production.
“This partnership is an exciting step forward for global maternal health,” said Spencer Kirk, Managing Director of Kirk Humanitarian. “As recent projections show, demand for multiple micronutrient supplements is expected to outpace available supply within the next two years. This new manufacturing agreement is proof of concept that we can expand manufacturing of UNIMMAP MMS in nationally owned and operated facilities, produce a high-quality, affordable product, and provide new opportunities for export to bring this life-changing nutrition intervention to even more women in need.”
The announcement comes as more than 20 low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) seek to transition their national health programs from iron folic acid supplements (IFAS) to UNIMMAP MMS. The increase in national interest is driven by decades of research showing that UNIMMAP MMS is more effective than IFA in preventing poor pregnancy outcomes and supporting long-term gains in human capital.[iv],[v],[vi]
New analysis shows the demand for UNIMMAP MMS is projected to outpace the global supply in the next two years. Meeting future demand will require expanding the supplier base to serve both domestic and import markets. In 2023, Kirk Humanitarian is partnering with one U.S.-based manufacturer to procure and donate 1.8 billion doses of UNIMMAP MMS to LMICs for distribution in emergency settings and to support governments transitioning from IFAS to MMS. The new manufacturing agreement with Dexa Medica is the first for Kirk Humanitarian outside of the U.S.
The joint large-scale manufacturing agreement will boost capacity to provide UNIMMAP MMS at a low-cost in the Southeast Asia region, where maternal and young child malnutrition remains public health problem. In close coordination with the Ministry of Health of Indonesia, efforts are currently underway to support the country’s transition from IFAS to MMS. Transitioning from IFAS to MMS is expected to prevent the deaths of an additional 8,616 children in Indonesia. It is also a very cost-effective intervention, yielding benefits that are 483 times greater than the cost.[vii]
“Dexa Medica is committed to ensuring healthy lives and promoting the well-being of all, especially mothers and children, and this initiative with Kirk Humanitarian is in line with our core purpose, Expertise for the Promotion of Health, and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: good health and well-being,” said Ferry Soetikno, CEO of Dexa Group.
About Kirk Humanitarian
Kirk Humanitarian is a private family foundation dedicated to improving global health through a focus on women’s nutrition during pregnancy. Kirk Humanitarian’s mission is to accelerate availability, access, uptake, and use of United Nations International Multiple Micronutrient Antenatal Preparation Multiple Micronutrient Supplements (UNIMMAP MMS) among women at risk of maternal malnutrition to create a healthier and more equitable world. Kirk Humanitarian is the leading global purchaser and donor of UNIMMAP MMS for low- and middle-income country governments and non-governmental organization partners. For more than 20 years, Kirk Humanitarian has worked with partners to support the production of and to distribute 5.4 billion doses of UNIMMAP MMS at zero cost, reaching 29 million pregnant women in more than 100 countries. Visit KirkHumanitarian.org to learn more.
About Dexa Medica
PT Dexa Medica (member of Dexa Group) is a leading Indonesian research-based pharmaceutical company founded in Palembang, Indonesia in 1969. The company has end-to-end expertise in pharmaceutical discovery, formulation, manufacturing, and marketing across Southeast Asia and the Asia Pacific regions. Dexa Group has consistently used its sophisticated and internationally standardized research capabilities to prioritize public health needs. Its core purpose Expertise for The Promotion of Health aligns with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all. For more information, visit dexagroup.com.
[i] World Health Organization (2021). World Health Organization Model List of Essential Medicines, p. 53. https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/345533/WHO-MHP-HPS-EML-2021.02-eng.pdf
[ii] Keats EC, Haider BA, Tam E, Bhutta ZA. 2019. Multiple-micronutrient supplementation for women during pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2019. Mar 14; 3 (3). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6418471/
[iii] Smith et al, 2017. Modifiers of the effect of maternal multiple micronutrient supplementation on stillbirth, birth outcomes, and infant mortality: a meta-analysis of individual patient data from 17 randomised trials in low-income and middle-income countries. Lancet Global Health. https://hmhbconsortium.org/knowledge-hub/modifiers-of-the-effect-of-maternal-multiple-micronutrient-supplementation-on-stillbirth-birth-outcomes-and-infant-mortality/
[iv] Ibid., 2
[v] Perumal N, et al. 2021. Impact of scaling up prenatal nutrition interventions on human capital outcomes in low- and middle-income countries: a modeling analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2021 Nov 8;114(5):1708-1718. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34320177/
[vi] Gomes, F., Agustina, R., Black, R.E., Christian, P., Dewey, K.G., Kraemer, K., Shankar, A.H., Smith, E.R., Thorne-Lyman, A., Tumilowicz, A. and Bourassa, M.W. (2022), Multiple micronutrient supplements versus iron-folic acid supplements and maternal anemia outcomes: an iron dose analysis. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci., https://doi.org/10.1111/nyas.14756.
[vii] Nutrition International. The MMS Cost-Benefit Tool. https://www.nutritionintl.org/learning-resources-home/mms-cost-benefit-tool/.