The fat soluble vitamin A is a powerful vitamin that serves a variety of different functions including promotion of healthy vision; bone development; sperm creation and fertilization; scavenges free radicals and protects LDL from oxidation and is vital for cell variation. The requirements for humans for Vitamin A are as follows: RDA, or recommended dietary allowance is 900 micrograms for men and 700 micrograms for women. Upper intake level is 3,000 micrograms per day. Vitamin A and Vitamin D can be found in several foods including dairy products, eggs, and fortified foods. Vitamin A can also be found in liver as well as vegetables that are particularly high in beta-carotene ("Fat Soluble Vitamins").
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) created a strategy for Vitamin A supplementation and has continued to observe its progress. In 2007, they cited an article in the medical journal known as The Lancet regarding Vitamin A and its relative importance "to reduce the number of preventable child deaths each year" (UNICEF 1). Moreover, UNICEF stated that with the growing among of issues pertaining to Vitamin A deficiency that there was a need to examine the essential aspects of the definite need for Vitamin A supplementation in countries worldwide.
UNICEF planned to execute a Vitamin A supplementation plan to a total of 60 countries noting developing countries as the most in need of supplementation due to a variety of reasons including issues with impaired immunity, hyperkeratosis and night blindness. Additionally, UNICEF cited that measles was a common issue among countries that had a lacking Vitamin A quantity. UNICEF stated further that there are numerous opportunities that still exist to administer Vitamin A supplementation to developing countries even though the years spanning 1999-2004 were defined as prominent years where interventions had taken place (8-9).
UNICEF stated that tracking progress is a difficult process because their plan/strategy was on a global scale but that "efforts to ensure that children receive two annual supplements improved dramatically" (9) within the years of when the program was executed. What they deemed as report cards were carried out in a variety of regions including East Asia and Pacific, Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, The Americas and Caribbean and Middle East and North Africa. In addition to the strategy associated with these targeted areas, UNICEF also saw fight to ensure a focus on food fortification to improve the deficiencies associated with Vitamin A.
In their analysis of the strategy - UNICEF examined that there were some issues. First, coverage was lacking in certain area with rural children receiving less supplementation than those in urban areas. This spanned across the various countries where the plan had been noted as being implemented. UNICEF added that continuing supplementation would be needed and further efforts to ensure that rural children received the necessary supplements would be their first priority. UNICEF did not opt to change their strategy to supplementation in terms of how it was being administered stating that "the highest coverage rates serve as a model for the integrated delivery of high-impact interventions (15-18).
Essentially, the strategy by UNICEF for Vitamin A supplementation was successful with the exception of certain countries where rural children did not get a sufficient or adequate amount of supplementation. Poor diets result in poor health overall. UNICEF acknowledged this as an issue and vowed to do what they could for future supplementation. Additionally, they focused resources on increasing the amount of supplementation available in order to ensure that the program would be sustainable for future children that encounter issues pertaining to Vitamin A deficiency.
Fat Soluble Vitamins. PowerPoint Presentation. 2013.
"Vitamin A Supplementation: A DECADE OF PROGRESS." UNICEF, 2007. Web. 16 Nov. 2013. <http://www.unicef.org/immunization/files/Vitamin_A_Supplementation.pdf>.