Action - Nutrition International - Ethiopia - Vitamin A supplementation

Programme: Nutrition International - Ethiopia

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 Nutrition International’s VAS program in Ethiopia are to:

  • Support the government with provision of donated Vitamin A Capsule (VAC) supplies through the In-Kind Assistance Program.
  • Provide technical assistance at the regional, zonal and woreda level to improve the quality of VAS services provided to children 6-59 months of age through the routine Health Extension Program; and 
  • Provide technical assistance on a national level for the revision of key policy, guidelines and strategy documents through participation in the VAS Technical Working Group.

NI's work is in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Health/Regional Health Bureaus, the VAS Technical Working Group (the MOH and VAS stakeholders including NI and UNICEF). Progress is being achieved on a national level and on a sub-national level by supporting 460 woredas of the agrarian and urban regions and in 30 select woredas across the pastoralist regions of Benshangul/Gumaz, Afar, Somali and Gambella regions. NI support to Ethiopia VAS program began in the early 2000’s 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 - 16:18engesveenkEdited by GINAadminNI.published
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