Vitamin A drive cutting child mortality rate

Kathmandu, October 16:

The bi-annual vitamin A supplementation and deworming capsules have helped to save the lives of around 20,000 children every year. Earlier child mortality rate was higher due to the diseases caused by vitamin A deficiency.

The Child Health Division (CHD) under the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) is starting National Vitamin A programme and deworming capsules from October 19 and October 20.

Every year vitamin A supplementation saves around 20,000 lives, said Dr Sun Lal Thapa, programme manager at the Integrated Management on Childhood Illness (IMCI) unit of the Child Health Division.

“National Vitamin A Programme has been perhaps the most successful health and nutrition campaign in the country,” said Dr Thapa.

Vitamin A and deworming capsules have already been dispatched to all the districts and female community health volunteers (FCHV) have been trained and notified about the programme, he said.

According to Nepali Technical Assistance Group (NTAG) of National Vitamin A Programme, all the necessary procedures have been completed for the second round of national vitamin A programme.

The government has targeted to provide vitamin A capsules to around 37 lakh children between 6 months and 5 years and deworming capsules to around 29 lakh children of 1 to 5 years. Vitamin A and deworming capsules will be given by around 48,000 FCHV.

The government launched the programme in 8 districts in 1993 with the support from partner agencies. Health surveys prior to the commencement of the programme showed that vitamin A deficiency was one of the major problems in Nepal. The programme was introduced with an aim to provide high-dose vitamin A capsule supplementation to the children (below five years and above six months) twice a year.

The programme was also introduced to establish a health-facility treatment protocol for children with conditions related to vitamin A deficiency.