Millennium Development Goal 4: Reduce child mortality
Target: Reduce by two-thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate
The World Health Organization indicates that vitamin A deficiency (VAD) still remains a significant public health problem at the global level. While most people know that VAD can lead to blindness – it is in fact the leading cause of preventable childhood blindness – many are unaware that even before blindness occurs, vitamin A-deficient children face a 23 per cent greater risk of dying from ailments such as measles, diarrhoea or malaria.
An estimated 33 per cent of pre-school age children and 15 per cent of pregnant women do not have enough vitamin A in their daily diet. Furthermore, another 5.2 million pre-school-age children suffer from clinical VAD.
Among countries of sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia, more than 40 per cent of pre-school age children are estimated to be vitamin A deficient.
Source: World Health Organization, 2009