THT 10 years ago: Vitamin A drive cutting child mortality rate

Kathmandu, October 16, 2006

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.

British cyclist on world tour reaches Kathmandu

A British national Jason Lewis of Expedition 360, who is on a thirteen-year mission to circumnavigate the world using “human power”, is in Kathmandu.

He is using only human power such as bikes, pedal boat, roller blades, kayaks, swimming and walking and “no motors or sails”.

“The current leg through South East Asia entails 7,000 miles of bicycling of which Lewis has so far completed nearly 5,000 through Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, China, Tibet and Nepal and India.

He has completed an astonishing 35,000 miles under his own steam since departing London over 11 years ago,” said Expedition 360 (x360).

He is “en route” to Mumbai, India. Thirty-eight-year-old Briton travelled a third of this distance using a pedal powered boat to cross the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

“Along the way he has fended off the attentions of whales and crocodiles, caught malaria twice and been run over - almost losing both legs in the process.

On this latest leg to Kathmandu Lewis caught Malaria in Laos and a near fatal case of altitude sickness in Tibet,” said the x360 team statement. So far, Lewis and the x360 team have completed three quarters of the journey, according to the team’s website.

The expedition is expected to complete by summer next year.

The final journey will be a 2,200-mile crossing of the Indian Ocean to Djibouti on the horn of Africa.