Vitamin A, which is essential for the functioning of the immune system and the healthy growth and development of children, is usually acquired through a healthy diet. However, Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is a public health problem in 100 countries. VAD is a major contributor to childhood morbidity and mortality and is also likely to be a contributing factor to maternal deaths.
Vitamin A deficiency can be corrected by a number of complementary strategies including improving diet, food fortification and supplementation. Vitamin A status has a significant impact on child morbidity and mortality. The provision of high dose vitamin A supplementation every 4-6 months protects against blindness and also has a significant impact on the health of children 6-59 months of age, reducing the risk of dying from all causes by 23%.