Saving Sight & Lives with Vitamin A
According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 250 million pre-school children are vitamin A deficient. This silent syndrome compromises immune system function, leaving young children unable to fight common childhood infections such as measles or diarrhea. Vitamin A deficiency is also the leading cause of preventable childhood blindness in developing countries, with up to 500,000 children going blind because of it each year. In addition, half of these children will die within a year of losing their sight.
We partner with governments, the private sector and other charities throughout Africa and Asia to ensure that health systems include vitamin A supplementation—a cost-effective and life-saving intervention for children six months to five years old—as part of regular wellness practices for impoverished communities. Each year, we reach 45 million African children under five with high dosage vitamin A supplements.
Vitamin A is an essential nutrient needed for vision, growth, development, and a healthy immune system.
For more than 40 years, Helen Keller International has been a leader in designing, implementing, and monitoring programs that ensure annual delivery of vitamin A to vulnerable populations worldwide. In addition to vitamin A supplementation, we use a multi-program strategy that includes the promotion of breastfeeding, maternal and child nutrition education, fortification of staple foods, and globally recognized family-led agricultural programs designed to improve access to vitamin A-rich foods and make them part of daily diets.