Nutrition

Vitamin A supplements

A guide to their use in the treatment and prevention of vitamin A deficiency and xerophthalmia: Second edition

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Authors:
World Health Organization, United Nations Childrens Fund, VACG Task Force

Publication details

Number of pages: 28
Publication date: 1997
Languages: English, French, Spanish
ISBN: 92 4 154506 2

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Overview

Provides concise, authoritative advice on the use of high-dose vitamin A supplements for the control of vitamin A deficiency and the emergency treatment of xerophthalmia and other conditions in high-risk groups. Now in its second edition, the guide has been updated and expanded to reflect the latest scientific knowledge, particularly concerning the safety and effectiveness of different dose schedules in different age and population groups. Recommended lines of action also draw on practical experiences gained in the recent international drive to eliminate vitamin A deficiency as a public health problem by the year 2000.

The guide is addressed to programme managers and administrators and aims to answer all practical questions concerning how much vitamin A should be given to different age and population groups, how often, and in what form. Details range from an alert to conditions that should be treated as medical emergencies, through advice on how to calculate procurement requirements, to the simple warning that oil-based preparations should never be injected.

The guide concludes with a list of countries categorized according to the significance of vitamin A deficiency as a public health problem, a summary of the scientific rationale for vitamin A supplementation, and detailed information on the potency retention, at different storage temperatures, of commonly used vitamin A preparations.