So far so good

Giving continuity to its decade and a half old initiative whereby it has achieved 90 per cent success in reaching its target, the National Vitamin A Programme (NVAP) is administering Vit. A capsules to 3.7 million children (aged 6 months-5 years) and medicine for fighting worms to 3.1 million children (aged 1-5 years) across the country on Oct. 18 and 19. NVAP’s efforts have been highly fruitful too. Vit. A deficiency in pre-school children has become rare; child mortality from Vit. A deficiency is down by 30% as compared to early 1990s.

Since the programme was started in 1993, Vit. A capsules have proven to be highly successful

in treating diseases like night-blindness, malnutrition, diarrhoea and measles. The other major aim of the campaign, that of creating awareness among people regarding food habits, dietary intake of Vit. A and importance of breastfeeding for newborns and infants have also, by and large, been met. Adroit in pooling together resources of female community health volunteers, health workers, teachers, NGOs, politicians and civil society memebers, NVAP is one of the few government health initiatives that deserve high praise. NVAP should now be setting its sight even higher: Reaching 100% of the target population. Good work so far should spur healthcare professionals to aim higher, not to sit on their laurels.