WHO recommends vitamin A supplementation (VAS) programmes for children 6-59 months where vitamin A deficiency is a public health problem. However, resources for VAS are falling short of current needs and programme coverage is suffering. The authors present the case for considering the options for shifting efforts and resources from a generalised approach, to prioritising resources to reach populations with continued high child mortality rates and high vitamin A deficiency prevalence to maximise child survival benefits. This includes evaluating where child mortality and/or vitamin A deficiency has dropped, as well as using under 5 mortality rates as a proxy for vitamin A deficiency, in the absence of recent data. The analysis supports that fewer countries may now need to prioritise VAS than in the year 2000, but that there are still a large number of countries that do. The authors also outline next steps for analysing options for improved targeting and cost-effectiveness of programmes. Focusing VAS resources to reach the most vulnerable is an efficient use of resources and will continue to promote young child survival.
- child health
- public health
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health