LAHORE - The Punjab Health Department will provide dose of Vitamin A capsules to over 14 million Children during National Immunization Days from October 15-17, said by Dr Tanwir Ahmed Director Health Services (EPI) Punjab.

Addressing a training workshop jointly organised by the health department and the Micronutrient Initiative on Wednesday, Dr Tanwir Ahmed said Vitamin A deficiency was a leading health problem and needed to be addressed on priority basis.

He added deficiency of Vitamin A could lead to many serious health problems like night blindness, poor immunity against diseases and increased mortality during measles.

He said that twice a year supplementation of Vitamin A, could prevent 23 per cent child mortality.

Munawar Hussain, Programme Manager, said prevalence of Vitamin A deficiency in Pakistan was very high with no exception in Punjab. He said according to National Nutrition Survey 2011 over 23 per cent children have severe deficiency of Vitamin A and 33 per cent were mild deficient. He also shared that 10 per cent women were suffering night blindness during current pregnancy and 8 per cent during last pregnancy.

He said The Micronutrient Initiative was donating 28 million Vitamin A capsules to Punjab government annually and this support would continue in future to improve the child survival rates.

Executive District Officer Health Dr Inamul Haq shared that the government had taken necessary measures to ensure that Vitamin A capsules were administered to all children of 6-59 month of age. The training of frontline workers of health department was a step towards ensuring proper coverage of target children during NIDs of October 2012 round.

District Officer Health Dr Saeed Akhtar briefed the participants on campaign guidelines of Vitamin A supplementation.

He briefed the participants on importance of training of field teams and involvement of community for successful implementation of Vitamin A supplementation campaign along with NIDs. He said that twice a year supplementation of Vitamin A, could prevent 23 per cent child mortality.

The training workshop was also attended by representatives of provincial EPI cell Punjab, health department, United Nations Children’s Fund  (UNICEF) and World Health Organization (WHO).