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80,000 Nigerian children may die of Vitamin A deficiency

By Peter Duru

MAKURDI — No fewer than 80,000 Nigerian children are prone to die annually from Vitamin A deficiency related ailments if concerted efforts are not made to control and prevent the deficiency amongst growing children in the country.

Country Director of Helen Keller International, HKI, Dr. Omo Ohiokpehai, who said this in Makurdi during an advocacy visit on the Benue State Ministry of Health and Human Services noted that the World Health Organisation, WHO, had identified Nigeria as one of the Category One countries with the highest risk of Vitamin A deficiency in the world.

The country director said it was in a bid to avert the ugly situation for the children of Benue State and Nigeria in general that the Helen Keller International, HKI,  since 2006, collaborated with the Benue State government in supporting twice yearly Vitamin A supplement for children in all the 23 local government areas of the state through funding from the Micronutrient Initiative, MI.

She said the HKI in partnership with other stakeholders had modelled the integration of Vitamin A capsule distribution into Immunisation Plus Days and Child Health Weeks as a cost effective and sustainable strategy for Vitamin A supplement to vulnerable children who fall within the 6-59 months age bracket.

According to her, over 80 per cent of these children in the state have benefitted from the programmes of the HKI since its inception in the state, assuring that the organisation would continue to partner the Benue State Government to ensure the eradication of Vitamin A deficiency related childhood killer diseases in the state.


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