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 Nutrition International’s VAS program in Ethiopia are to:
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.
 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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