(Primary Health Care)
What can we do to stop Vitamin A Deficiency?
In very young children Vitamin A encouraging
mothers to breast-feed their babies best prevents deficiency. Even
as they begin to switch to soft food it is wise to introduce them to
fruits and porridge. Whenever possible the child should be fed soft
fruits, for they contain Vitamin A.
Older children and adults should include foods
in their diets that contain Vitamin A. these include:
red palm oil
yellow sweet potato
To help provide these essential foodstuffs why
not encourage young people to help develop a small family garden.
This could be encouraged at community level as well. During the
drier seasons it is essential that plants are watered and this is
the perfect job for younger members of the family/community. If
water is in short supply then use some that has already been used,
say for washing or preparing food. Gardening can be fun and it helps
everyone to avoid the problems associated with Vitamin A Deficiency.
What to do if you have no food with Vitamin A in it
If your food does not provide you with very
much Vitamin A then you can use medicines that do. In areas where
Vitamin A deficiency is quite common the health authorities
sometimes provide these medicines free of charge. The medicine is
normally an oily liquid that in given my spoon, or in some cases by
tablet. Each dose is given at about 4 to 6 monthly intervals. If
children and young people take this average dosage then they should
remain free of the pro0blems that are associated with Vitamin A
What can we do to help people with Night Blindness
Any child who has the symptoms of night
blindness must be taken to see a health worker as soon as possible.
They should also be given as many foods with Vitamin A in them as
Children should be encouraged not to be
frightened by night blindness. It is not the result of bad behaviour
by anyone in his or her family. Those children with good sight can
help they’re less fortunate peers by carrying out surveys of who
is suffering and where they live. This information will be very
useful to health workers. The surveys need not be huge in size, for
on average if one child in every hundred has signs of night
blindness then Vitamin A deficiency exits in that community. A more
sensitive issue but one which can have enormous benefits is to
enquire how young babies are fed. Obviously other pressures exist
that cause mothers to switch to artificial feeding but a sensible
discussion on the plus points of breast feeding can assist both the
current generation of young babies and those yet to be conceived. If
such a survey discovers that less than half of the young babies are
being breast fed then experience suggests that Vitamin A deficiency
probably exists amongst the youngest members of the community. Such
a discovery provides an excellent opportunity for those foods that
do contain Vitamin A to be publicised to mothers.
Within school children can also be encouraged
play pretend games to discover what it is like to
design posters showing those foods that contain
compose songs or poems that tell of the benefits of
Vitamin A deficiency is a terrible illness to
suffer from, yet with care, attention and knowledge its dreadful
impact can be reduced.