Malawi reduces vitamin A deficiency: Unicef commends Ministry of Health

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Monday commended the Ministry of Health and Population for its efforts in reducing the number of children deficient in vitamin A from 51 percent to 3 percent.

Namarika: The focus of the Child Health Week campaign would be on the provision of Vitamin A supplementation and de-worming tablets

UNICEF’s Chief of Nutrition, Dr Sangita Duggal attributed the success to the efforts and strategies put in place by the Ministry of Health to provide routine supplementation of Vitamin A.

Duggal was speaking during a media briefing for the launch of the Child Health Days week to take place from 15th to 19th July, 2019.

She said that the less the number of people found with Vitamin A deficiency, the fewer the people that would be diagnosed with eye complications, such as complete blindness.

Duggal described the period which the country has made the strides as remarkable, because no country has made such an achievement in such a period.

“I recall it was 14 years ago when Malawi was struggling with Vitamin A deficiency, and the number of people facing eye problems was high in comparison to recent years when the number has dropped to three percent,’’ she said.

She said the biannual Child Health Days conducted in all health centres across the country were a great milestone for the country’s health sector and it adds to the success of reducing cases of eye problems.

Secretary for Health and Population, Dan Namarika said these successes have resulted in remarkable improvement in morbidity and mortality patterns, especially from diseases amenable to immunizations and other preventable childhood illnesses.

He, however, said even with the impressive performance, there was need for routine supplementation of Vitamin A in infants which still needs to be improved in certain segments of the society especially hard to reach areas.

Namarika said the focus of the Child Health Week campaign would be on the provision of Vitamin A supplementation and de-worming tablets.

He added that there would also be distribution of Micronutrient Powders to eligible children accompanied by an intensive social mobilization and information education and communication with emphasis on infant and young child feeding.

“During this period, children aged six to 111 months and post-natal mothers of less than eight weeks, will get Vitamin A capsules, at the same time, children aged 12 to 59 months will receive Vitamin A and de-worming tablets,” he said.

A total of 1,745,808 children and 109,113 post-partum mothers are expected to be reached with Vitamin A supplementation while a total of 1,418,471 children are expected to be reached with deworming tablets.

The Child Health Week is a biannual event conducted in partnership with development partners namely; UNICEF, GIZ, WVM and District Commissioners.

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