Action - Nutrition International- India - Vitamin A supplementation

Programme: Nutrition International- India

Programme description

Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is a public health problem all around the world, affecting more than 100 countries [1]. 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 [2].

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 India are to:

  • Work at the national level with Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to provide technical support on development of policy and guidelines and planning for program implementation. 
  • Provide technical and operational support to three states – Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh both at the state level and more intensively at the district level focusing on 75 select districts. State-level support is focused primarily on planning, budgeting and procurement of adequate supply of Vitamin A syrup.  More intensive district-level support is provided through supportive supervision and work to improve the quality of the service provision to children 6-59 months of age through Village Health and Nutrition Days (VHNDs) and biannual events.  

These activities are being implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the Government of India, UNICEF and the Department of Health and Family Welfare of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh. Progress is being achieved on a national scale and on a sub-national scale in the three states mentioned above.  NI support to India’s VAS program began in 1999 and is ongoing.

Programme type



[1] WHO. (2013). Micronutrient deficiencies. Retrieved from

[2] 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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Tue, 10/02/2018 - 16:19engesveenkEdited by GINAadminNI.published
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