- Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD) is the number one cause of childhood blindness. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that as many as 190 million children, especially in Africa and Southeast Asia, suffer from VAD.
- VAD also compromises the immune system, which, in turn, increases the risk of death from diseases such as malaria, measles and diarrhea.
- Each year, it is estimated that 670,000 children will die from VAD, and 350,000 will go blind.
- HKI collaborated in the groundbreaking research that first identified that controlling vitamin A deficiency can not only prevent a lifetime of darkness, but can also result in a 25% reduction in child mortality.
What HKI Is Doing
- 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 (VAS) programs for decades. These programs deliver vitamin A to young children and are successful means to combat vitamin A deficiency.
- Vitamin A Supplementation is considered to be the most cost-effective intervention to save the sight and lives of children.
- Just two doses of high-potency vitamin A capsules are needed every year. The capsules themselves cost pennies per dose, and the total cost of delivering the vitamin A is just $1.00 per child per year. HKI’s role is to ensure that the capsules reach those most in need.
- All of HKI's Africa programs, as well as our office in the Philippines, support mass VAS programs. The goal is to create systems within each country to achieve and sustain high VAS coverage for more than 80% of targeted children.
- Every minute, 72 children benefit from our programs; last year, HKI delivered over 100 million vitamin A capsules to children.
- Besides Vitamin A Supplementation, other approaches taken by HKI to help control VAD include: 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.
Back to top