National campaign on vitamin A and deworming on October 24 and 25
The Department of Health and Population is leading a two-day nationwide campaign to administer vitamin A supplements and deworming tablets to children under five on October 24 and 25.
The campaign will be crucial in preventing many childhood illnesses and reducing the death rate among children under five.
“This is a very crucial campaign and no child should be deprived of vitamin supplements and deworming tablets,” said Kedar Parajuli, head of the nutrition section in the Family Welfare Division of the Department of Services. health.
“We urge all parents of children under the age of five to ensure their children receive vitamin A supplements and deworming tablets at distribution points in their area.
The ministry aims to give a vitamin A supplement to more than 2.75 million children aged six months to five years. More than 2.4 million children over 12 months will receive deworming tablets.
“All preparations, including orientation training for female community health volunteers and other health workers, have been completed, and we have also provided vitamin A and deworming tablets to all local units,” said Parajuli.
More than 51,000 female community health volunteers serving across the country will be deployed to the campaign. The Ministry of Health has been running the campaign twice a year – in April and October – since 2003.
It is through supplementation campaigns like these that night blindness problems in children, which were very high until two decades ago, have been almost eliminated, Parajuli said.
The vitamin A campaign is successful in Nepal, as it has helped tackle the problem of vitamin A deficiency in children, which was once a major public health problem in the country. Regular supplementation campaigns are estimated to have reduced the number of deaths in children under five by 23%.
These supplementation programs, officials say, have coverage rates of over 94 percent, the highest of any health campaign in the country.
But in 2020, many children could have missed vitamin A supplementation and deworming because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The United Nations Children’s Fund said in its report that around the world only two in five children received the life-saving benefit of vitamin A supplementation in 2020.
Child health experts claim that vitamin A supplementation campaigns are important for the overall growth of children and to protect them from various infectious diseases.
According to World Health Organization, Vitamin A deficiency causes visual impairment (night blindness) and vulnerability to diseases like measles and diarrhea in children. The supplement strengthens immunity and ensures the natural growth of children.
“Vitamin A supplementation has been shown to reduce the death rate of children under five by 23%,” said Dr Shyam Raj Upreti, former director of the former child health division and now known as the name of the family welfare division. “Well-nourished children have stronger immunity, which helps fight infections. Malnourished children are always at risk of infections.