Vitamin A supplementation programme to resume today in Telangana

Vitamin A supplementation programme to resume today in Telangana
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Highlights

Vitamin A supplementation programme given every six months to infants and preschool children (from 9 months to 5 years of age) is resuming after a gap of nearly two years in Telangana.

Hyderabad: Vitamin A supplementation programme given every six months to infants and preschool children (from 9 months to 5 years of age) is resuming after a gap of nearly two years in Telangana.

A special drive will commence from Monday (January 6) till January 20 under which nearly 38 lakh small children in 33 districts of the State will be given these drops.

Due to lack of stocks, Vitamin A doses were not kept available in all PHCs as well as State hospitals in districts for whole 2019.

As such kids visiting the State hospitals, mostly from BPL and lower income groups were not administered these doses.

It may be mentioned here that millions of children under the age of 5 years are affected by Exophthalmia, a serious eye disorder that can be caused by moderate to severe deficiency and can lead to blindness.

Far greater numbers of children show no external signs of Vitamin A deficiency but live with dangerously low vitamin A stores, leaving them vulnerable to infection and with reduced immunity to fight common childhood diseases.

Government of India's National Programme for Prophylaxis against Blindness in children due to Vitamin A deficiency recommends for at least nine doses of vitamin A to be given to all children aged 9 to 59 months.

The first dose of 100,000 International Unit (IU) (one ml) is administered with measles vaccination at 9 months and subsequent doses of 200,000 IU each (two ml dose), every six months until kids reach 5 years of age.

It also recommends for one dose of vitamin A on measles case identification, irrespective of whether it has previously been administered prophylactically or given as routine immunisation.

Prevalence of clinical and sub clinical vitamin A deficiency in India is among the highest in the world which is why the Centre brought in this programme.

The WHO (World Health Organisation) States that Vitamin A deficiency affects about 190 million preschool-age children, mostly from Africa and South-East Asia.

In infants and children, vitamin A is essential to support rapid growth and to help combat infections.

Inadequate intakes of Vitamin A may lead to vitamin A deficiency which can cause visual impairment in the form of night blindness and may increase the risk of illness and death from childhood infections, including measles and those causing diarrhea.

According to health officials, Vitamin A bottle stocks have been sent to all districts few days ago for taking up this programme.

They said dosages would be administered in PHCs, sub-centres, Anganwadi centres and ANMs and Asha workers would also take up field visits in their areas.

A one-day workshop was also held at district and mandal level for smooth implementation of the drive.

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