Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is a public health problem all around the world, affecting more than 100 countries . A lack of vitamin A weakens the immune system, putting a child at greater risk of disease and early death; and it is also the leading cause of preventable child blindness. The solution for correcting vitamin A deficiency lies in improving the child’s diet – through increased consumption of vitamin A-rich foods, naturally rich or commercially fortified foods such as processed oils or sugar.
In countries where this remains a public health problem, and while food-based solutions are gradually being implemented and scaled-up to reach those populations, giving children 6 to 59 months of age two doses of vitamin A per year can impact a child’s health. Specifically, the range of impact on deaths averted can range from a lower bound cause-specific effect size of 28% (diarrheal deaths averted) to an upper bound of 12%-24% all-cause mortality reduction .
Nutrition International is committed to supporting vitamin A supplement (VAS) programs for children 6 to 59 months of age in settings where VAD is a public health problem, as one of the most cost-effective ways to improve child survival.
The main aims of NI’s VAS program in Pakistan are to:
These activities are being implemented in partnership with the Federal Government of Pakistan and the National VAS Technical Working group that includes the MOH and VAS stakeholders, including NI and UNICEF. This work is being conducted on a national level through technical and operational assistance to the Ministry of Health and on a sub-national level in four provinces; Punjab, Sindh, Baluchistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa . NI support to Pakistan’s VAS program began in 1999 and is ongoing.
 WHO. (2013). Micronutrient deficiencies. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/vad/en/
 Imdad A, Herzer, K, Mayo-Wilson E, Yakoob MY, Bhuta ZA. Vitamin A supplementation for preventing morbidity and mortality in children from 6 months to 5 years of age. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2010, Issue 12.
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