This study assesses the availability nationally-representative data on current Vitamin A status and contribute to the debate regarding the relevance of Vitamin A supplementation (VAS) programs targeted at children aged 6-59 months. Authors examined data from 82 countries implementing VAS programs, identified other VA programs, and assessed the recentness of national VA deficiency (VAD) data.
Two-thirds of the countries explored either had no VAD data or data that was >10 years old, which included twenty countries with VAS coverage ≥70%. Fifty-one VAS programs were implemented in parallel with at least one other VA intervention, and of these, 27 countries either had no VAD data or data collected in 2005 or earlier.
To fill these gaps in VAD data, countries implementing VAS and other VA interventions should measure VA status in children and the coverage of VA interventions at least every 10 years. Countries should conduct appropriate VA status assessment before prematurely scaling down VAS programs.