KARACHI:Vitamin A supplementation (VAS) workshop for District Focal Persons (DFPs) of Sindh was conducted on Wednesday at local hotel of Karachi by Nutrition International in collaboration with the Provincial Health Department, Sindh.
The objective of the training was to sensitize district focal persons on the importance of vitamin A in human life; role of DFPs in VAS campaign; and how to improve vitamin A coverage in Sindh during NIDs.
Shehzad Afzal, National Program Manager for child Survival and Development, Nutrition International referred to the statistics of NNS 2011 which indicates approximately 53% children under 5 in Sindh are vitamin A deficient whereas 54% children under 5 at national level are vitamin A deficient which is an alarming situation and this needs serious attention.
DFPS are the backbone of the VAS program in the province and can play their effective role in improving the situation that would contribute in reducing morbidity and motility under 5 children.
Dr Fatima Saad, Provincial Program Manager, Nutrition International gave presentations on importance of Vitamin A and its effects of its deficiency on human body. Role of enhancing Immunity by Vitamin A in measles outbreak also came under discussion. Trainers stated that antioxidants like Vitamin A are also responsible for regulating gene regulation, maintaining healthy clear skin, facilitating cell differentiation, and supporting immune function. Some of the best sources of Vitamin A include eggs, milk, liver, carrots, yellow or orange vegetables such as squash, spinach, and other leafy green vegetables.
Muhammad Yasin, National Program Coordinator stated that mortality among children 6-59 months is reduced by 23% through VAS supplementation. Vitamin A deficiency results in night blindness. There is well established scientific basis for the treatment of measles with vitamin A.
Ms. Tahira from Sindh emphasized the role of DFPs Pre, during and Post campaign of NIDs. She has taken a detailed session on DFPs role in their respective district during pre, during, and post campaign. Vitamin A logistic guidelines were also discussed with the DFPs.
In the end, Dr M B Dharejo Program Manager (AAP) Nutrition Task force PandD concluded the session and highlighted the Role of Nutrition International for Vitamin A Supplementation in Sindh.
He said Vitamin A is essential for the proper functioning of the immune system and prevents body against diseases. He stressed that VAS coverage in all districts should be more than 95%.
He emphasized to prepare proper micro plans including the targets of Vitamin A; proper distribution plan for VACs, based on targets; Quality of trainings needs improvement, proper time should be allocated to Vitamin A during pre NIDs trainings; Social mobilization activities for NIDs should include Vitamin A; Vitamin A should be part of routine immunization and the indicator need to be included in the regular monitoring system of the province.