The Ministry of Health says there is a need to intensify efforts of administering supplementary Vitamin A to under 5 children which is essential in boosting their immune system.
The Minister of Health Minister Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda made the remarks on Tuesday when the Ministry engaged Directors of Health and Social Services from all the districts in the country.
According to Chiponda, the Government of Malawi recognizes Vitamin A as a necessary micro-nutrient responsible for night vision among others, hence the need for children to be given enough of the Vitamin.
She added that government will now integrate Vitamin A supplementation into normal routine immunization in order to increase the number of children administering the same, as previously it was run as a campaign.
“Today we are having this meeting with officials from District Hospitals across the country, officials from the Ministry of agriculture but also officials from the Ministry of Gender. Basically, we are talking about how can we strengthen support for Vitamin A supplementation.
“Vitamin A is responsible for strengthening immunity system in a body but it also helps with night vision. So it is important that our children get enough Vitamin A.
“However, we have not been very successful because our statistics in terms of percentage still remain below 60 percent in most of the districts and we have been running it as a campaign. So if you are doing something as a campaign it means you administer it for a period and then you stop.
“So now the strategy is that we are integrating Vitamin A supplementation into normal routine immunization like all the immunizations which we give to our children and the target.
“We target children from one year which is 12 months up to 59 months these are the age group which we give Vitamin,” explained Chiponda.
Chiponda further noted that it is very important to boost the immunity of children because that way the country can save a lot.
In his remarks, Nutrition International Deputy Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Banda Ndiaye said there is need to provide comprehensive essential health services to a child and that includes the Vitamin A.
“As a country we really need to address the problems which our children are facing in a most comprehensive way that is why we are here to talk about how we integrate Vitamin A supplementation that is key effective services for child survival,” said Ndiaye.
Alinafe Hauya, Coordinator for Expanded Program for Immunization for Mangochi District Council, said there is need to increase sensitization because it seems most women and caregivers are not pretty much aware on when they can take their children to hospital to receive Vitamin A.
“It is just an issue of sensitising the women that at 6 months the child is supposed to come to receive Vitamin A,” said Hauya.
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