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Vitamin A supplements : a guide to their use in the treatment and prevention of vitamin A defincency and xerophthalmia


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The past few years have seen a steady increase in the number of programmes for the distribution of high-dose vitamin A supplements as an emergency measure to treat and prevent vitamin A deficiency and associated xerophthalmia. Health administrators and programme managers in countries in which these conditions constitute a significant public health problem are sometimes in doubt about just how much vitamin A should be given to which age and population groups, how often, and in what form. To help resolve these doubts, WHO, UNICEF and the international Vitamin A Consultative Group (IVACG) have prepared the succinct guidelines which update and extend those published by the WHO in 1988. New information deriving from scientific investigations and practical experience has warranted this revision, whose recommendations are based on the best current evidence. Easy-to-follow treatment and prevention shcedules are given, and suggestions are made for the integration of vitamin A distribution into a variety of primary health care services