Vitamin A is an essential nutrient used by our bodies for several purposes. Vitamin A is especially important for the growth and development of children. Because our bodies do not produce the vitamin, we have to get it from the foods we eat. Northern Matabeleland is designated as a severely deficient vitamin A area by the World Health Organization. Vitamin A deficiency increases childhood mortality in the 1-5 year age group by 24%!
Xerophthalmia is a progressive corneal eye disease caused by vitamin A deficiency that can develop into blindness. It is a leading cause of blindness in children.
We are pleased to report that a second follow up grant of Vitamin A supplements for 2016 was awarded to supplement the children below age 5 in the clinics of Matabeleland North to prevent Vitamin A deficiency. Vitamin Angels donated 18,500 doses of 100,000 IU vitamin A for children 6-11 months (enough for 18,500 children) and 18,500 doses of 200,000 IU vitamin A for children 12-59 months (enough for 9250 children). Almost 28,000 children have again benefited from this generous donation! Just two doses are needed per child each year to prevent and treat a deficiency. This donation will not only help prevent xerophthalmia, but reverse the disease, given early enough, in children currently affected by it.
We were fortunate to hold eye clinics in 4 of the 17 clinics receiving the Vitamin A and speak with the nurses in charge who were responsible for the successful distribution of of the Vitamin A......on this second set of 4 clinics where we worked 2 years previously we examined almost a thousand patients..... and (unlike before) saw NO children with xerophthalmia! Thank you Vitamin Angels!