Vitamin A is essential for normal vision, growth, development and immune function. Insufficient vitamin A may increase children’s risk of severe or repeated infections and consequently their risk of dying. Currently vitamin A deficiency (VAD) affects an estimated 190 million preschool children in developing countries,1 and is considered to be a public health problem where more than 15% of the under-five population present with subclinical VAD (serum retinol below 20 μg/dL).2 In such countries, periodic high dose vitamin A supplementation (VAS) is recommended to address the problem. South Africa (SA) implemented a VAS programme in 2002, which targets preschool children. Children aged 6 to 11 months receive a single vitamin A dose of 100 000 IU, while children aged 12 to 60 months receive 200 000 IU every 6 months.
View the complete Is prophylactic Vitamin A supplementation justified in areas where liver is frequently eaten policy brief