Integrating strategies for combating vitamin A deficiency: successes in Asia.

Saskia de Pee, Martin W. Bloem, Lynnda Kiess, Dora Panagides, Aminuzamman Talukder

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Indonesia and Bangladesh were among the first countries to distribute vitamin A capsules (VAC) to underfives in the early 1970s. Since then, VAC coverage has increased very much. In Indonesia, VAC are now distributed to underfives in two special months. In Cambodia, VAC distribution started less than a decade ago and coverage is yet <50%. After being linked to National Immunization Days, it is now linked to Immunization Outreach, which seems a good strategy. Because VAC are only distributed to underfives and postpartum women, and because coverage is usually around 50-80%, other strategies are implemented simultaneously. Recent HKI-evaluations found that promotion of dark-green leafy vegetables and eggs in Indonesia increased their consumption and improved vitamin A status. In Bangladesh, underfives and women of households with a homestead garden and/or poultry had a lower risk of vitamin A deficiency. The HKI Homestead Food Production Program aims at improving homestead food production activities in order to increase production and consumption of vitamin A-rich foods. Food fortification in Indonesia reaches large parts of the population, while coverage is related to socio-economic status and urban/rural location. The successes in Asia emphasize the need for multiple strategies and integration with other health and agricultural programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)210-212
Number of pages3
JournalForum of nutrition
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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