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Congo: 677.390 Kinder gegen Masern geimpft
« on: April 23, 2008, 08:33:18 PM »


humanitarian news and analysis
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

CONGO: Vitamin A campaign targets deficient children

BRAZZAVILLE, 4 April 2008 (IRIN) - At least 8,000
children between the ages of six months and five years have
received vitamin A supplements in a health campaign aimed
at eradicating vitamin deficiency in southwestern Congo.
"Since June 2005 we have administered the vitamin in the
form of capsules as part of our intervention programme,"
said Charles Ngoussa, the head of local health NGO
Dynamisation des Initiatives Locales, which is based in
Sibiti, the main town in L'koumou.
Vitamin A boosts the body's immunity, increasing children's
resistance to infections. It stimulates mental and physical
growth through the synthesis of proteins. The vitamin is also
important in improving vision, preventing eye infections
and in the production of red blood cells. Vitamin A
supplements contribute to the reduction of mortality from
diseases such as diarrhoea and measles.

Vitamin A deficiency leads to an increase in infectious and
parasitic diseases, stunted mental and physical
development, declining vision [night blindness] and
ultimately blindness, as well as increasing the likelihood of
developing anaemia due a reduction in red blood cells.

Among the children who received the vitamin supplements
in the ongoing campaign were 2,000 children from
indigenous communities ("Pygmies"), Ngoussa said.

He said these children were the most vulnerable, adding: "If
in general the situation of the Congolese children is of
concern to us, then that of the pygmy children is even of
greater concern as can be seen in the precarious way in
which the indigenous communities live."

The nutritional status of children under five remains of
major concern in Congo, due to the prevalence of
malnutrition. Although there are no official statistics,
children from the rural areas are the most affected by

According to Ngoussa, different forms of malnutrition are
exacerbated by poverty, which prevents the population from
accessing medical care. At least 50.7 percent of the
Congolese population live below the poverty line (less than
US$1 a day), according to a household survey conducted by
the World Bank in 2005.

The UN Children's Fund says between 200 and 300 million
pre-school children in developing countries are at risk of
vitamin A deficiency. At least 500,000 children lose their
sight each year in these countries
, and almost 70 percent die
within a year.

The Congo vitamin A campaign is supported by Swiss
organisation Voire et Vivre.

Meanwhile, "Out of 711,233 children between the age of
six months and five years, 677,390 children were
vaccinated against measles, provided with vitamin A
supplements and dewormed representing a 95.2 percent
," Emilienne Raoul, the minister of health and
social services told IRIN on 3 April.

"At least 525,686 insecticide treated mosquito nets were
also distributed," Raoul said. "The [health] campaign was a
genuine success."

The campaign aimed to reduce infant mortality by fighting
malnutrition, malaria and measles, which are the leading
causes of mortality and morbidity among children Congo.

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the
United Nations]
Copyright © IRIN 2008. All rights reserved.

This material comes to you via IRIN, the humanitarian news and analysis
service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The
opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the United Nations
or its Member States. Republication is subject to terms and conditions as
set out in the IRIN copyright page.

Wegen Mangelernähruung und Krankheiten erblinden in diesen Ländern jedes Jahr 500.000 Kinder:

500,000 children lose their sight each year in these countries

« Last Edit: April 23, 2008, 08:33:51 PM by ama »
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