Around 2.7 million children are being administered vitamin A supplementsChildren aged between six months and five years will get vitamin A and deworming tablets during the two-day campaign on Saturday and Sunday.
The government on Saturday launched a nationwide campaign to administer vitamin A supplements and deworming tablets.
Under the two-day campaign, the government aims to administer vitamin supplements and deworming tablets to around 2.7 million children aged six months to five years across the country.
“We would like to request all parents to make sure that their children aged six months to five years get vitamin A and deworming tablets,” said Kedar Parajuli, chief of Nutrition Section under the Family Welfare Division of the Department of Health Services. "Our female community health volunteers would reach every household to ensure that every child gets the supplement and deworming tablets."
The vitamin A campaign is largely a success story in Nepal, as it has immensely helped tackle the issue of vitamin A deficiency among children, which used to be a major public health problem in the country.
Parajuli said during the campaign, female community health volunteers would also take measurements of mid-upper arms circumference and weights of children to know their nutrition status.
The coverage rate, however, has been declining by the year. The programme had a coverage rate of over 94 percent, the highest among health campaigns and programmes in the country in the past. But last year, only 85 percent children were administered vitamin A supplements and deworming tablets.
The nutrition section said that the coverage rate was much lower in big cities, metropolises and sub-metropolises in comparison to remote districts and far-flung villages.
Likewise, floating population, slum settlements and lack of exact data are some of the other issues that have hindered the drug administration process, according to Narendra Bajracharya, chief of Health Department at Kathmandu Metropolitan City.
“We do not know the exact number of children in our metropolis,” said Bajracharya. “We have been setting targets on the basis of 2011’s census data.”
In Kathmandu, of the estimated 80,000 children aged between six months and five years, only 62,000 (77 percent) were administered vitamin A and deworming tablets last year.
The government has been conducting such nationwide campaigns twice a year since 2003—in October and in April.
The Ministry of Health and Population had requested UNICEF for vitamin A supplements and deworming tablets for the three consecutive campaigns after provincial governments failed to procure them on time.
Vitamin A keeps children safe from night-blindness and keeps their eyesight perfect. It also boosts immunity and ensures children’s natural growth.