National Vitamin A prophylaxis program –
Vitamin A is an important micronutrient for maintaining normal growth, regulatingcellular proliferation and differentiation, controlling development, and maintainingvisual and reproductive functions. Diet surveys have shown that the intake ofVitamin A is significantly lower than the recommended daily allowance in youngchildren, adolescent girls and pregnant women. Prevalence of clinical and sub clinical vitamin A deficiency in India is among the highest in the world.
In the fifties and sixties many of the states reported that blindness due to Vitamin A deficiency was one of the major causes of blindness in children below five years. A five-year long field trial conducted by NIN showed that if massive dose Vitamin A (200,000 units) was administered once in six months to children between one and three years of age, the incidence of corneal xerophthalmia is reduced by about 80 per cent. In view of the serious nature of the problem of blindness due to Vitamin A deficiency, it was felt that urgent remedial measures in the form of massive dose Vitamin A supplementation covering the entire population of susceptible children should be undertaken. In 1970, the National Prophylaxis Programme Against Nutritional Blindness was initiated as a centrally sponsored scheme. Under this scheme, all children between ages of one and three years were to be administered 200,000 IU of Vitamin A orally once in six months.
In an attempt to improve the coverage, especially of the first two doses, it was decided to link Vitamin A administration to the ongoing immunization programme during the Eighth Plan period.
Finally, in the 2006, the age group of eligible children was broadened to include children between 6 months and 5 years after reconsidering recommendations of the WHO, UNICEF and Ministry of Women and Child Development. from all as 9 months to 5 yr. of age (oral prophylactic dose)
Aim: to decrease the prevalence of Vitamin A deficiency
100000 IU at 9 months with measles immunization
200000 IU at 16-18 months, with DPT booster
200000 IU every 6 months, up to the age of 5 years.
Thus, a total of 9 mega doses are to be given from 9 months of age up to 5 years.