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 Tanzania are to:
NI’s work is in partnership with UNICEF, the President’s Office Regional Administration and Local Government Authority, The Tanzania Food and Nutrition Centre, Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Tanzania Mainland and Ministry of Health Zanzibar, Regional Health Management Teams and Council Health Management Teams. Progress is being achieved on a sub-national level by providing support to 14 regions; nine regions on the Tanzanian mainland (Katavi, Tabora, Simiyu, Shinyanga, Geita, Rukwa, Mwanza, Kigoma and Singida) and five regions on Zanzibar (Unguja North, Unguja South, Pemba North, Pemba South and Town West). NI support to Tanzania’s VAS program began in 2017 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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