The National Vitamin A Plus Campaign 2005 was successfully held on 16 June 2005. After polio ceased to be a threat in Bangladesh, nation-wide National Immunization Day (NID) campaigns have proved to be unnecessary. The vitamin A supplementation had piggybacked on NIDs for at least one round. Following the withdrawal of NIDs, the government has embarked upon yet another innovative strategy, ‘The National Vitamin A Plus Campaign’. The Campaign has now been designed as a biannual event for the delivery of a package of health and nutrition services to children 0–59 months of age in addition to vitamin A capsule (VAC) supplementation. There has been a shift in paradigm. Considering the growing importance of vitamin A in immunogenesis, the aim of the Campaign this year was to reduce child morbidity and mortality among under-fives. The interventions during the Campaign this year included: • Supplementation with high potency vitamin A capsules (200,000 IU) for children 12–59 months • Administration of de-worming tablets (albendazole 400 mg) to children 24–59 months • Creating awareness regarding nutrition education of mothers. Anthelmintic tablets were included because of the high prevalence of worm infestation (more than 30%) and its hazardous implications for health and nutrition. Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is still one of the major nutritional problems in Bangladesh. Vitamin A not only prevents nutritional blindness among children, but reduction in mortality is expected as well when vitamin A status is raised to normal. In addition vitamin A plays an important role in the overall development of a child and increases resistance to infection. It is possible to prevent 400–500 deaths among children below 5 years every day in Bangladesh with regular intake of sufficient vitamin A in the diet. The Government of Bangladesh instituted the Nutritional Blindness Prevention Programme in 1973. Since its establishment the Institute of Public Health Nutrition (IPHN), as the only mandated governmental institute on nutrition, has been playing an effective role in addressing VAD with the active support of The Micronutrient Initiative, CIDA, UNICEF, WHO, NNP and NGOs.
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