Vitamin A supplementation reduces deficiency in Afghan kids – Study

By Nurul Ain Razali

- Last updated on GMT

Afghan kids require vitamin A supplementation to reduce deficiency. ©Getty Images
Afghan kids require vitamin A supplementation to reduce deficiency. ©Getty Images

Related tags Vitamin a deficiency Children Afghanistan Supplements

Vitamin A supplementation is helping to reduce deficiency among Afghan children, with researchers recommending that all children aged six to 59 months receive supplements.

In Afghanistan, vitamin A supplementation is a key strategy to prevent deficiency among young children. Children receive vitamin A supplements as part of the National Immunization Days (NID) campaign.

“Vitamin A deficiency is a major problem. Recent history of diarrhoeal disease, reported night blindness, maternal education of fewer than nine years, and infrequent consumption of eggs, mangoes, and liver were associated with increased risk of vitamin A deficiency,”​ said the researchers.

Therefore, the team embarked on a cross-sectional case study, with data collected from June 2015 to February 2016. After applying a stratified two-stage sampling in urban and rural areas, a total of 27,209 children aged six to 59 months and living with their mothers were analysed.

Yay or nay to vitamin A

Regarding social demographics, a total of 2,600 out of 5,265 children, or 49.4%, of the lowest wealth quintile were found to have been given vitamin A supplementation. Among the children in the highest wealth quintile, 2,557 out of 5,014 individuals, or 51%, consumed vitamin A supplements.

Additionally, 1,572 children aged six to eight months were observed to have been given vitamin A supplementation.

Various factors might have contributed to the risk of deficiency, such as prevalent maternal undernutrition, poor diet, nutrient loss during diarrhoeal episodes and financially unable to get supplementation.

Hence, the phenomenon is common in many low- to middle-income nations even if they rely heavily on vegetables and fruits, and the authorities lack the strategy to prevent or reduce deficiencies, said the researchers.

Consequently, these infants and children could face visual impairment (night blindness), become anaemic, have weakened immune systems, and have an increased risk of illness and death from childhood diseases like measles.

Hence, it is recommended to implement programmes that provide high-dose vitamin A supplements to children aged between six and 59 months for the short term.

In the long run, the researchers suggested reliable access to a myriad of fresh food, provision of food fortified with vitamins and minerals, implementation of food distribution programmes and development of the horticulture scene.

“Many countries have successfully integrated strategies to deliver vitamin A supplements to infants and children in their national health policies, including delivery during routine health visits and immunisations. Vitamin A supplement is a key strategy and the most important supplement among young children in Afghanistan.

“It is better to use wheat flour fortification and vitamin A capsule supplementation, besides providing nutrition education and training primary healthcare workers to prevent and treat vitamin A deficiency among the children in Afghanistan,”​ concluded the researchers.

 

Source:​ Food Therapy and Health Care

“Vitamin A supplement: a key strategy to prevent vitamin A deficiency among young children in Afghanistan”

DOI:​ 10.53388/FTHC20220501008

Authors:​ Ahmad Mujtaba Barekzai et al​.

Related news

Related products

show more

Empowering Women Through the Life Cycle

Empowering Women Through the Life Cycle

Content provided by Glanbia Nutritionals | 07-Nov-2023 | Product Brochure

As discussions around female empowerment widen, and advances in women’s health access and provision accelerate, the implications for business, healthcare,...

Analyzing the unknown threat from Microplastics

Analyzing the unknown threat from Microplastics

Content provided by Agilent Technologies | 06-Nov-2023 | Infographic

Microplastics are any plastic-derived synthetic solid particle or polymeric matrix, ranging in size from 1 µm to 5 mm and insoluble in water.

Pycnogenol® Supports Cognitive Function

Pycnogenol® Supports Cognitive Function

Content provided by Horphag Research | 18-Sep-2023 | White Paper

Clinical research shows daily supplementation with Pycnogenol® may help support brain function in a variety of age groups with results showing improved...

Functional Beverage Market Insights in ASPAC

Functional Beverage Market Insights in ASPAC

Content provided by Glanbia Nutritionals | 06-Jul-2023 | Product Brochure

High growth ahead for protein beverages makes Asia Pacific (ASPAC) the market to watch. Consumer research shows new usage occasions, key consumption barriers,...

Related suppliers

Follow us

Webinars

Food & Beverage Trailblazers

F&B Trailblazers Podcast