Our vitamin A program

The COVID-19 pandemic left millions of children outside our core countries at risk of missing a dose.

In April 2021, we launched an 18-month vitamin A supplementation (VAS) emergency response project in Africa, with support from the Government of Canada, that aimed to reach up to 35 million children with at least one dose of vitamin A.

We supported government-led efforts by working with Ministries of Health in 18 additional countries to optimize their delivery platforms and, wherever possible, package VAS alongside other essential child survival services such as nutrition screening, deworming, and immunization. In the first eight months of the emergency response project in 2021 alone, this effort helped to reach more than 10 million children with two doses of vitamin A and ensured nearly 18,000 health workers received training on delivering vitamin A safely in the context of the pandemic. This additional effort, combined with our core work, ensured that an estimated 167 million children under five were reached with two doses of vitamin A in 2021.

We have been a global leader in vitamin A supplementation since our inception 30 years ago, supporting governments to integrate VAS into existing health platforms and ensuring children are not missed with lifesaving VAS. We have led in setting the manufacturing standards and providing vitamin A capsules to eligible countries through the in-kind donation program – implemented with UNICEF, and with support from the Government of Canada – procuring and donating more than 10 billion capsules since 1997. As host and chair of the Global Alliance for Vitamin A (GAVA), an alliance of partners working to accelerate child survival and reduce the consequences of vitamin A deficiency worldwide, we work to achieve consensus on research, policy, and program evidence-based approaches to achieve optimal vitamin A intake among populations living in vulnerable situations.