Micronutrient Initiative Awards Contracts for Vitamin A Capsule Manufacture

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OTTAWA – The Micronutrient Initiative has awarded contracts to three suppliers for the manufacture of vitamin A capsules for its flagship child survival program. Accucaps Industries Limited of Canada, NutriCorp International /Jamieson Laboratories, Canada and Patheon Softgels B.V. Netherlands have all received contracts to manufacture soft-gel capsules that are distributed to around 70 countries.

With support from Canada, MI has procured the bulk of the world’s supply of vitamin A capsules for children in need. Vitamin A improves health, averts potential precursors to blindness such as Bitot’s spots and xerophthalmia, and has contributed to saving 4 million children’s lives around the world since 1998. When vitamin A-deficient children receive two annual doses of vitamin A, mortality rates can drop as much as 24 percent.

MI procures both 100,000 IU capsules for children aged six to 11 months and 200,000 IU capsules for children aged 12 to 59 months. MI’s capsules are donated to UNICEF and distributed to health systems around the world. Vitamin A supplementation is often bundled with other child health services including immunization, anti-malarial bed nets and growth monitoring.

MI has a thorough and transparent procurement system, allowing us to obtain the highest quality product that can withstand transport to hot and humid climates, has a shelf life of 3 years and can be easily administered by front-line health workers, all at a very low cost. MI procures between 400 and 500 million capsules a year.

MI has been working with manufacturers to procure capsules since 1997-1998. This process takes place on an annual basis. Today, you can find bottles of vitamin A capsules, most stamped with a Canadian flag and an MI logo, on the shelves of health posts and health centres from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.