Vitamin A plays a vital role in a child’s growth by boosting immunity and thus keeping severe infections at bay, Murang’a County Nutrition Officer Ms Nancy Mwangi has said.
“Vitamin A contributes to the well-being of children below five years as it increases the child’s chances of survival,’’ said Mwangi adding that it also reduces the severity of childhood illnesses caused by vitamin A deficiency.
Mwangi noted that there are some foods which provide vitamin A and advised mothers to make sure that these foods are part of their children’s diet.
“Vitamin A can also be obtained from foods such as carrots, mangoes, eggs and leafy vegetables like spinach and broccoli,” stated Mwangi as she urged mothers to give priority to such foods.
However, she said due to poor eating habits and lack of balanced diet among many children, vitamin A is supplemented to give children adequate amount required by the body to fight and prevent diseases.
“Some mothers sometimes overlook the importance of giving their children a balanced diet,” regretted the nutritionist.
The County Government of Murang’a through the department of health has been collaborating with Nutritional International organization to administer Vitamin A supplement to children.
Nutrition International is a Canadian organization that supports proper nutrition by donation of Vitamin A capsules to all government health facilities.
According to Mwangi, the supplement is routinely given every six months to children up to the age of five years in the county and sub counties health facilities.
She said so far the county has been able to supplement 104,594 children below the age of five years with Vitamin A against a target of 106,551 translating to 98.2 percent.
She stated that the main challenge they face in their bid to increase vitamin A intake was failure by caregivers to take children to health care centers for routine supplementation doses every six months as required.
“Children may not get the required amounts of vitamin A from foods and that is why they require supplements every six months,” she stressed.
By Anita Omwenga and Purity Mugo