MI campaign increases uptake of vitamin A supplementation in Ethiopia

Abyot has ensured her two year old son has benefitted from MI´s vitamin A program.

Abyot has ensured her two year old son has benefited from MI’s vitamin A program.

Abyot Abebe, a 28-year-old mother of two boys, was always fascinated by a radio spot featuring a group of excited children playing football. While the spot was in a language she didn’t understand, the universal sound of children playing appealed to her. If it came on while Abyot and her neighbors were enjoying their coffee ceremony, they would all listen attentively.

“I usually felt like I was hearing my kids playing outside with their friends,” said Abyot.

After listening to the advert countless times, Abyot and her neighbors wanted to know more about it, so they asked Frehiwot, a Health Extension Worker at their community health center.

“She told us that it was about vitamin A, which she said is good for the eyes and vision of our kids,” Abyot said. “She also said it would protect them from some diseases like diarrhoea and pneumonia. It was after this that we decided to take our kids to receive vitamin A at the Addis Ketema Health Center where Frehiwot works.”

The radio spot is part of a mass media campaign in Addis Ketema, and in other areas of Ethiopia, supported by the Micronutrient Initiative to promote vitamin A supplementation for children under five years of age. While Abyot regrets that her lack of awareness meant her first son did not get vitamin A, she is grateful that she now knows how important it is so her second son can benefit.

“The radio spot has helped a lot of people know about the importance of vitamin A,” said Frehiwot, who provides vitamin A supplements at the health center. “In fact, I have realized that radio is the best medium to increase people’s awareness on health. They have the information; they only seek clarification from us whenever we pass by their house or when we visit them while doing our outreach work.”