|Coverage of the vitamin A supplementation programme for child survival in Nepal: success and challenges|
||A.M. Nguyen, D.S. Grover, K. Sun, V.K. Raju, R.D. Semba, and D.A. Schaumerg
||Paediatrics and International Child Health, 32(4):233-238
||Background: Nepal’s national vitamin A programme, which began in 1993 and continues twice yearly, targets pre-school-aged children in all districts of the country in an effort to reduce morbidity, mortality and nutritional blindness.
Objective: To characterize the coverage of the Nepal National Vitamin A Programme (NVAP) for pre-school-aged children in Nepal and to identify risk factors for failure to receive vitamin A supplementation.
Methods: The relationship between receipt of a vitamin A capsule and demographic and health indicators was examined in a cross-sectional study of 4013 children aged 12–59 months and their families who participated in the 2011 Nepal Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS), a nationally representative survey. Coverage of the vitamin A programme was compared with coverage estimates from surveys in 2001 and 2006.
Results: Coverage estimates of the national vitamin A programme for children aged 12–59 months as assessed by the 2001, 2006 and 2011 NDHS were 84·3%, 96·6% and 92·1%, respectively. Children who missed a vitamin A capsule were more likely to be younger and anaemic, have less educated parents, live in rural areas, and have higher child and infant mortality in the family.
Conclusions: The national vitamin A supplementation programme in Nepal has relatively high coverage of children aged 12–59 months but still misses children in families with high child mortality. Further measures might be needed to sustain a high level of programme coverage.
Keywords: Nepal; Morbidity; Mortality; Nutritional blindness; Vitamin A