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Newborn vitamin A reduces infant mortality
Date:7/6/2008

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"We are excited by the results of this study, that build on two previous studies in South Asia, confirming this low cost intervention can significantly contribute to reducing mortality in the first 6 months of life," said Kent R. Hill, assistant administrator for Global Health at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). He added, "A key next step is to consider the operational issues for using this intervention." In conjunction with other partners, USAID is conducting operations research in Nepal and Bangladesh to determine possible approaches for delivering vitamin A to newborn infants.

In the 1980s, Alfred Sommer, MD, MHS, demonstrated that vitamin A deficiency dramatically increased the risk of child mortality. Sommer, along with West and colleagues from Hopkins further demonstrated that a single dose of vitamin A could reduce child mortality by 34 percent. The control of vitamin A deficiency is a global goal of the World Health Organization and is considered one of the most cost-effective of all health interventions for saving young lives.

"Because childhood mortality is greatest during the first few months of life, a single dose of vitamin A administered by mouth to a newborn child can save the lives of an additional 300,000 children in Asia every year," said Alfred Sommer, MD, MHS, professor and dean emeritus of the Bloomberg School of Public Health. "That is on top of the one million lives a year that would be saved by dosing all vitamin A deficient children twice a year from six months through 5 years of age."


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Contact: Tim Parsons
tmparson@jhsph.edu
410-955-7619
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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