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Do you have Measles?

If you do, you may have a deficiency in VITAMIN A

What is Vitamin A?

Globally, 3 million children suffer clinical Vitamin A deficiency, exhibiting the signs and symptoms of eye damage and xerophthalmia. However, the full magnitude of Vitamin A deficiency often remains hidden: an estimated 140-250 million children under five years of age are at risk of sub-clinical Vitamin A deficiency, mainly in Asia and Africa. Though showing none of the ocular signs or symptoms these children suffer a dramatically increased risk of death and illness, particularly from measles and diarrhoea, as a consequence of Vitamin A deficiency.

Long known to be a principle cause of childhood blindness (250 000-500 000 children lose their sight each year), Vitamin A deficiency is now recognized as a major contributing factor in an estimated 1-3 million child deaths each year.

The simple provision of high-dose vitamin A supplements every 4-6 months not only protects against blindness but has been repeatedly shown to have a dramatic and multiple impact on the health of young children (6-59 months):

Overall, all-cause mortality is reduced by 23%
Measles mortality is reduced by 50%
Diarrhoeal mortality is reduced by 33%
85% coverage can result in a 90% reduction in the prevalence of severe xerophthalmia 


Vitamin A and Malaria: A recent study in Papua New Guinea found that when young children were given vitamin A supplements three times a year they had 30% fewer malaria attacks and the number of malaria parasites in their blood dropped by 36%.

Vitamin A and HIV/AIDS: Trials are currently on-going to determine if vitamin A supplementation can reduce the mother-to-child transmission of HIV during lactation.

Between 100 and 140 million children are vitamin A deficient.

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Find out more about Vitamin A

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