Your institution is subscribed to Read Institutional Edition. Log in or Sign Up to read full text articles.

JOURNAL ARTICLE

Vitamin A deficiency and child survival in sub-Saharan Africa: a reappraisal of challenges and opportunities

Victor M Aguayo, Shawn K Baker
Food and Nutrition Bulletin 2005, 26 (4): 348-55
16465981

BACKGROUND: Children with vitamin A deficiency have higher risk of morbidity and mortality than vitamin A-sufficient children. Estimates on the potential child survival benefits of vitamin A deficiency control are needed for policy and program advocacy.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the current prevalence of children at risk for vitamin A deficiency in sub-Saharan Africa in order to estimate the potential child-survival benefits of effective and sustained policies and programs for the control of vitamin A deficiency in this region.

METHODS: Estimates of the prevalence of vitamin A deficiency generated in 1998, data from 11 nationally representative vitamin A deficiency surveys conducted in sub-Saharan Africa between 1997 and 2003, and the measured effects of vitamin A deficiency on child mortality were combined to estimate the prevalence of children at risk for vitamin A deficiency in sub-Saharan Africa and the potential child-survival benefits of effective and sustained policies and programs for the control of vitamin A deficiency in this region.

RESULTS: Our analysis shows that in the absence of effective and sustained policies and programs for the control of vitamin A deficiency, an estimated 42.4% of children 0 to 59 months of age in sub-Saharan Africa (43.2 million children) are at risk for vitamin A deficiency. Such effective and sustained policy and program action for the control of vitamin A deficiency can bring about a potential 25% reduction in mortality in children 0 to 59 months with respect to 1995 mortality levels (i.e., before the onset of large-scale vitamin A supplementation programs in sub-Saharan Africa).

CONCLUSIONS: Effective and sustained control of vitamin A deficiency has the potential to be among the most cost-effective and high-impact child-survival interventions in sub-Saharan Africa. A stronger political commitment and a more appropriate level of investment in the effective control of vitamin A deficiency could make a large contribution toward the attainment of the Millennium Development Goal for the reduction of child mortality rates by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015. Among the many challenges that Africa will need to face in the coming years, vitamin A deficiency is one that can be overcome. The need is urgent, and the solutions are known, effective, and affordable.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article

Discussion

You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read
16465981
×

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.

×

Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"

We want to hear from doctors like you!

Take a second to answer a survey question.