- In Côte d’Ivoire, around 16% of children under five years of age are vitamin A deficient.
- Micronutrient deficiencies are also a problem throughout the country, creating a need for food fortification programs.
What HKI Is Doing
Helen Keller International has been working in Côte d’Ivoire since 2000, beginning with its onchocerciasis control program. Current programs include:
- Vitamin A Supplementation Read more
- Food Fortification Read more
- Infant and Young Child Feeding Read more
Vitamin A Supplementation
Helen Keller International supports integrating vitamin A supplementation (VAS) into National Immunization Days (NIDs). HKI provides technical assistance to the National Nutrition Program (NNP) and strengthens the capacity of health workers. From 2006 to August 2007, the NNP and HKI organized the training of 14 district directors, 255 health workers and 255 community health workers about the use of vitamin A supplementation. With HKI’s support, in 2009, over 2,300,000 children under five (approximately 85% of the children in Côte d’Ivoire) received vitamin A capsules to help address the severe vitamin A deficiency problem in the country.
With support from the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), Helen Keller International is leading efforts to increase and diversify food fortification in Côte d’Ivoire in order to address micronutrient deficiencies. Currently, 60% of the cooking oil in Côte d’Ivoire is fortified with vitamin A; HKI’s goal is 100%. HKI is expanding its program to include fortifying wheat flour with iron and folic acid to avert anemia and other related deficiency diseases. HKI’s goal is to increase iron consumption of fortified wheat flour from 25% to 80%.
Infant and Young Child Feeding
With funding from GAIN, Helen Keller International is scaling up the promotion of Essential Nutrition Actions and promoting fortified food products by training health workers in ten districts of Côte d'Ivoire on key nutrition actions and behavior change communications. Health personnel are taught to promote exclusive breastfeeding and the timely introduction of fortified complementary foods, along with proper nutrition for pregnant women, vitamin A supplementation, how to prevent anemia, and nutritional care of sick and malnourished children to ensure the optimal growth and development of children.