Chiradzulu, Chiradzulu District Hospital will from the end of June, this year (2019) integrate Vitamin A Supplements (VAS) in its routine immunization to increase equitable access to and utilization of the services.
Speaking in an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana), Chiradzulu District Hospital Public Relations Officer, Ellen Ndhlovu said Malawi has achieved good coverage of VAS registering 80 per cent success for children aged between 6-59 months through Child Health Days (CHDs).
Despite the achievement during CHDs, routine Vitamin A at facility level and outreach points is below the national target of 80 per cent, Ndhlovu said.
She added that an analysis conducted in 2016 established that only four per cent of facilities did not have Vitamin A stock-outs in the previous three months.
According to Ndhlovu, VAS and immunization are delivered through separate channels to the same children, hence the need to integrate it in routine vaccination campaigns.
She stated that Vitamin A deficiency has reduced significantly since 2015, saying currently, it is at 3.6 per cent in pre-school children, 0.9 per cent in school-going-age children, 0.3 per cent in women of reproductive age and 0.1 per cent in men.
Chiradzulu District Hospital Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) Deputy Coordinator, Rose Likharuwe told the district nutrition coordinating committee (DNCC) there were key interventions for addressing Vitamin A deficiency in the country.
Immunization will be administered to children, but other groups will get the Vitamin from the key interventions which include: dietary diversification, sugar fortification, cooking oil, maize and wheat flour and bio-fortification of Vitamin A-rich foods, among others, Likharuwe said.
Based on the bottleneck analysis in 2016, Ministry of Health and its partners resolved to pilot routine VAS in 10 selected districts of Ntchisi, Dowa, Blantyre, Chiradzulu and Neno, among others.
The programme will integrate VAS and de-worming in EPI programme for girls and boys under-five years in the country.
Source: MANA Online