Vitamin A Supplementation

The Challenge

  • Vitamin A deficiency occurs when the dietary intake of vitamin A is less than the body needs or if the body cannot absorb vitamin A properly due to disease or infection.
  • Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD) is the leading cause of preventable childhood blindness in developing countries. 
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that each year, up to 500,000 children go blind as a result of this condition.  Half of them die within twelve months of going blind.
  • Children who are vitamin A deficient are at a greater risk of death as the condition compromises immune system function, leaving young children unable to fight common childhood infections such as measles or diarrhea.

HKI Solutions

  • HKI uses a multi-program approach to combat VAD, customizing our interventions based on the needs of the individual communities in which we work.  
  • Besides Vitamin A Supplementation, HKI other approaches to help control VAD including: promoting the production and consumption of vitamin A-rich foods through Homestead Food Production and our Orange-Fleshed Sweetpotatoes program as well as through Food Fortification initiatives.
Vitamin A Supplementation
  • In the 1970s, HKI collaborated with Dr. Alfred Sommer on the groundbreaking research that first identified that controlling VAD can not only prevent a lifetime of darkness, but that VAD is also linked to childhood mortality.
  • Just two high-dosage vitamin A capsules every year are needed to prevent VAD. HKI delivers these supplements, along with other high impact interventions to help children develop healthy bodies and minds, at community events around the world.
  • Vitamin A supplementation is recognized by leading economists, the World Bank and the Copenhagen Consensus as the most cost-effective, high-priority public health intervention in the world.  These programs deliver vitamin A to young children and are successful means to combat vitamin A deficiency.
  • HKI has been partnering with governments and international and non-governmental organizations in Africa and Asia-Pacific to design, implement and monitor vitamin A supplementation programs for decades. 
  • Every minute, 72 children benefit from our programs; last year, HKI reached 50 million children aged 6 to 59 months with twice-yearly supplementation of vitamin A capsules in 13 African and 2 Asian countries.

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