Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin. It can be found in many fruits, vegetables, eggs, meat, butter, and oily saltwater fish. It can also be produced in a laboratory.
Carotenoids are a group of yellow or orange chemicals found in plants. Some of these can be converted to vitamin A in the body.
It’s commonly used for treating vitamin A deficiency. Some people also use vitamin A supplement to reduce complications of diseases such as measles, diarrhea, vision, child development, skin disorders infections, and many other conditions but there is no scientific evidence to back most of these uses.
The major role of vitamin A in the body:
Vitamin A is required for proper development and functioning of the body’s immune system, sight, and skin.
Vitamin A is likely safe for children when taken in the recommended dose, the maximum amounts that are safe for children are based on their age.
According to WHO, vitamin A deficiency affects about 190 million preschool-age children mostly in Africa and South-East Asia.
Many countries have successfully integrated vitamin A supplementation into their routine immunization in other to provide the target children the rightful dose at the rightful age.
What You Should Know About The Supplement;
As part of child survival programs, providing supplemental nutrition in the form of vitamin A capsule every 4 to 6 months is very important for child health especially in countries where there is a prevalence of vitamin A deficiency.
1. One capsule of vitamin A given every 6 months to children from the age of 6month to 59 months can reduce mortality by 24%.
2. For effectiveness, during the first 6 months of life, infants should be exclusively breastfed.
3. Children 6- 11month should take one 100,000 I.U dose
4. Children 6month and above should eat a nutritious diet that has a rich component of Vitamin A
5. Children 1year – 5 years should take a 200,000I.U dose every 6month or twice a year.
6 Children who have to take a vitamin A supplement within the last 1month or 3month will not get additional benefit or protection from the second dose of it.
Benefits of the supplementation;
1. Aid a healthy immune system, combat infection
2. Reduces the incidence of measles and malaria
3 Promotes the physical growth of the child
4 Protect the eyes and improve vision
5. Increases the child survival rate when duly taken.
Giving the supplement to a child
1. (100,000IU) is the blue color capsule for less than a year baby.
2. (200,000 IU) is the red color capsule for children of one year and above.
3. To maintain good hygiene and minimize the spread of infection from one child to another, make sure your hands are clean when administering it to a child.
Wash your hand first with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer before handling the capsule.
4. Cut from the capsule’s narrow tip pointing up and use clean scissors to cut out the tips.
5 With the support of the caregiver, lift the child’s head up with the mouth wide open and squeeze the capsule into the child’s mouth and never touch the child.
Note, never force a child to take it not gives a crying child.
Deficiency of Vitamin A in a child can result in the following;
1 Visual impairment in form of night blindness
2. Increase the risk of illness
5. Childhood mortality
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