What is vitamin A?
o Vitamin A is a substance that is not produced by the body
o It is essential for the body’s proper functioning.
o It is only required in very small amounts.
Why is vitamin A important for good health?
o Vitamin A is important for ensuring that children grow well and have good sight
o Vitamin A help the body resist to diseases and infections.
What is Vitamin A deficiency (VAD)?
o Vitamin A deficiency occurs when the body’s vitamin A reserves are low.
o This is dangerous because children suffering from vitamin
A deficiency are more likely to get serious illnesses like
measles, diarrhea, cold and coughs etc.
o Vitamin A deficiency can cause poor.
Who is most at risk of vitamin A deficiency?
o Children aged 6 to 59 months
o Infants who are not breastfed, Pregnant and lactating
What causes VA deficiency?
o VA deficiency is caused by an insufficient intake of VA rich foods.
o It is also caused by an insufficient absorption of vitamin A by the body.
o Depletion of the body’s vitamin A reserves following measles or chronic diarrhea.
What are the benefits of giving Vitamin A capsules to children?
o Vitamin A prevents illness by protecting children from getting infections and illness
o It also prevents blindness
Are Vitamin A capsules free of charge?
• Yes, Vitamin A capsules are free during health campaigns
and in all government health facilities in Sierra Leone
• Every mother should ensure that their children receive
Vitamin A capsules at six months and every six months
Who will receive Vitamin A capsules in this “welbodi “week?
• Children 6‐59 months will receive Vitamin A capsules
• Children in all households will be visited to give Vitamin A
capsules and de‐worming medicine.
Where can I get Vitamin A capsule for my child?
• In the “ welbodi’’ week, volunteers will visit your house to give children Vitamin A
• You should also take children to health clinics every six
month for Vitamin A capsules
How often should children receive Vitamin A capsules?
• Children 6‐59 months should receive Vitamin A capsules
after every six months in routine immunizations
• At 6 months Vitamin A capsule is also given twice yearly in
health campaigns like the welbodi weeks.
Are Vitamin A capsules used to treat other diseases?
• Yes, Vitamin A capsules are also used to treat children with diarrhea, measles or
children suffering from severe acute malnutrition
Why is it important to give VA capsules to children suffering from measles, chronic
diarrhea or Under‐nutrition?
• Vitamin A reserves are often low when a child is suffering from measles, diarrhea or
• Vitamin A capsule can restore a child's VA reserves.
• VA capsules greatly increase a child’s chances of survival suffering from these illnesses.
What is the relationship between chronic diarrhea, measles, and vitamin A deficiency?
Diarrhea and measles is more serious in children suffering from VAD.
• These illnesses can cause a serious depletion in VA stores causing blindness or death.
Do adults suffer from VA deficiency?
• Yes, anyone can suffer from VA deficiency but certain groups are more at risk than
• Among adults, the most vulnerable are pregnant and breastfeeding women.
• Most other adults have enough VA reserves to prevent VA deficiency.
Are Vitamin A capsules also given to adults?
• As part of the routine services in Sierra Leone mothers should also receive vitamin A
capsule immediately after delivery or at least within six weeks of delivery in order to
help protect the breastfeeding newborn.
What is the first clinical sign of VA deficiency?
• Difficulty or inability to see in dim light such as at dusk or at night (night blindness).
What is night blindness?
• Night blindness is when a child, pregnant or nursing woman sees with difficulty or does
not see at all in the dark.
Can one always detect VA deficiency before it becomes serious?
• No. A child can appear to be in perfect health and still have a dangerously low level of
• If such a child were to contract measles, diarrhea or other diseases blindness can
Who becomes blind as a result of VA deficiency?
• Young children aged 6 to 59 months are generally at risk
Should a baby receive the same dose of vitamin A as an older child?
• Vitamin A doses are dependent on age.
• A non breast fed child below six months should receive Vitamin A Supplementation
(VAS) (50,000 IU or half of the blue capsule).
• Children 6‐11 months should receive the normal dose of one blue capsule (100,000 IU)
or half of the red capsule.
• Children 12‐59 months should receive one red capsule (200,000 IU) or 2 blue capsules
Why are under five cards and registers important in the administration of VA capsules?
• It is important for each child to receive the correct dose of VA at the appropriate time.
• The under‐ five cards or registers enable health workers to identify any child who needs
Vitamin A capsule but has not received one.
What is the other source of Vitamin A besides the capsules?
• Some of the foods we eat contain a lot of Vitamin A. There are two (2) food sources of
vitamin A‐ Plant and Animal
• Animal sources include Liver, egg yolks, milk and fishes etc.
• Plant sources include Orange fruits and vegetables (carrots, pumpkin, mangoes and
pawpaw), orange‐fleshed sweet potatoes, dark green leaves ( cassava, sweet potato,
• Children’s weaning diets should include a variety of these foods to prevent VA
deficiency and illness.
What about children who are breastfed only, how will they get
Vitamin A ?
o Breast fed children get Vitamin A from breast milk.
o Breast milk also contains Vitamin A which protects children
against diseases and infections
o Breast milk is the healthiest and the best food for babies.
Why is it important to include green
leafy vegetables and yellow‐ or,
orange‐fleshed fruits and vegetables among
the weaning foods?
o Once a child reaches the age of 6 months, he/she needs
other foods in addition to breast milk.
• Consumption of green leafy vegetables and yellow or
orange‐fleshed fruits and vegetables will provide the
vitamin A for a good diet and will help prevent illness
Why should green leafy vegetables prepared with some oil?
• The oil allows the body to absorb the vitamin A contained in
the green leafy vegetables and it provides the energy needed
for normal growth and development.