The Little Red Capsule: Canada’s Vitamin A Success Story

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On May 26th, the Micronutrient Initiative is launching a new microsite, www.littleredcapsule.ca.  The site tells the story of the Little Red Capsule.  Known around the world for its contribution to child survival, vitamin A, as administered by the Little Red Capsule, has been a simple yet effective delivery method for saving children´s lives.  Despite being known around the world, the Little Red Capsule´s story is less known in Canada, and worthy of being told.

The Little Red Capsule was born out of need: vitamin A deficiency weakens children´s immune systems, putting them at higher risk of disease and death. It is also the leading cause of preventable child blindness. According to the World Health Organization, vitamin A deficiency affects more than 190 million children in the developing world.  Aware of this, Canada responded by being a leading funder of vitamin A for more than 15 years.  Through the Micronutrient Initiative, more than 8 billion capsules have been procured and distributed through child health programs to help save the lives of children around the world. When given to children who are vitamin A deficient, the Little Red Capsule can mean up to a 24% decrease in mortality rates.  In fact, more than 3 million children´s lives have been saved.  And its return on investment is impressive with $17 back for every $1 spent.

www.littleredcapsule.ca details the development and impact of MI´s vitamin A programming. From the research of American ophthalmologist Alfred Sommers to scaling up vitamin A programs that reach over 146 million children each year around the world, the story of the Little Red Capsule shows that saving a child´s life can be as simple as one drop.  And that drop has a ripple that stretches through families, communities and countries.