VITAMIN A DONATION
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.
In 4 of the 17 clinics that received the donation, we were fortunate to run eye clinics in partnership with the nurses responsible for the successful distribution of the vitamin A. At this set of 4 clinics where we had worked two years previously, we examined almost 1000 patients. Unlike before, we saw ZERO children with xerophthalmia! Thank you Vitamin Angels!