The Unfinished Business of Vitamin A Supplementation in Sub-Saharan Africa: “Business as Usual is NOT AN OPTION”

Rolf Klemm, HKI

As polio disappears from Africa, so too does a key delivery platform and funding for VAS. Continued high prevalence of Vitamin A deficiency in Sub-Saharan Africa (increase by 3% in preschoolers between 1990 and 2013), as well as evidence suggesting that improving Vitamin A status can contribute to reducing all-cause child mortality by 12-24%, means that VAS is still a relevant and priority intervention for Sub-Saharan Africa. However, countries relying on the polio system need to start a transition process now in order to ensure VAS coverage. Strategies need to re-focus on community-based approaches which will reach every child. And there needs to be greater investment in strategies that address the root cause of Vitamin A deficiency & that assess reach and quality of Vitamin A interventions & status.

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