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Toddlers, mothers to receive free vitamin A capsules

Update: May, 22/2014 - 14:00
A child is given a vitamin A capsule during Micronutrient Day in Nha Trang City, Khanh Hoa Province. Around 5 million children between six and 3 years of age will be provided free vitamin A capsules on June 1 and 2. — VNA/VNS Photo Duong
HA NOI (VNS) — Around 5 million Vietnamese children between six and 36 months of age will be provided free vitamin A capsules to prevent eye diseases such as xerophthalmia. The pills will be distributed on the occasion of Micronutrient Day on June 1 and 2.

"Vitamin A capsules will be provided to 863,000 new mothers and 880,000 children between 37 and 60 months of age in 22 underprivileged provinces and cities," said deputy head of the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) Le Bach Mai.

Mai said that more than 14 per cent of the children have vitamin A deficiency and 36.5 per cent of pregnant women suffer from anemia, despite several efforts being taken by the health sector to reduce nutrient deficiency of mothers and children during the past few years.

"Micronutrient deficiency is a health problem in Viet Nam which requires proper attention. We need to draw up policies and intervention measures to prevent malnutrition and chronic diseases among the people in the coming years," added Mai.

Preventing micronutrient deficiency is one of the important measures to fight stunted growth of children and mothers, strengthening body resistance and preventing infectious diseases, according to Mai.

On Micronutrient Day, communication and education activities will be launched nationwide to raise public awareness about good nutrition and promote food hygiene and safety.

NIN's statistics show that last year about 25.9 per cent of children under the age of 5 were stunted, with the majority being under 3 years old. — VNS

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