Vitamin A deficiency also diminishes the ability to fight infections. In countries where children are not immunized, infectious disease like measles have relatively higher fatality rates. As elucidated by Dr. Alfred Sommer, even mild, subclinical deficiency can also be a problem, as it may increase children's risk of developing respiratory and diarrheal infections, decrease growth rate, slow bone development, and decrease likelihood of survival from serious illness.
The major cause is diets which include few animal sources of pre-formed vitamin A. Breast milk of a lactating mother with vitamin A deficiency contains little vitamin A, which provides a breast-fed child with too little vitamin A.
In addition to dietary problems, there are other causes of vitamin A deficiency. Iron deficiency can affect vitamin A uptake. Excess alcohol consumption can deplete vitamin A, and a stressed liver may be more susceptible to vitamin A toxicity. People who consume large amounts of alcohol should seek medical advice before taking vitamin A supplements.
Some non-profit, non-governmental organizations have taken on the task of Vitamin A deficiency prevention as well. One such organization is Vitamin Angels. Vitamin Angels has committed itself to eradicating childhood blindness due to Vitamin A deficiency on the planet by the year 2020. Operation 20/20 was launched in 2007 and will cover 18 countries. The program gives children two high dose vitamin A and anti-parasitic supplements (twice a year for four years), which provides children with enough of the nutrient during their most vulnerable years in order to prevent them from going blind and suffering from other life-threatening diseases caused by Vitamin A Deficiency.
Treatment of vitamin A deficiency can be undertaken with both oral and injectable forms, generally as vitamin A palmitate.
As an oral form, the supplementation of vitamin A is effective for lowering the risk of morbidity, especially from severe diarrhoea, and reducing mortality from measles and all-cause mortality. Some countries where vitamin A deficiency is a public health problem address its elimination by including vitamin A supplements available in capsule form with National Immunization Days (NIDs) for polio eradication or measles. Vitamin A capsules cost about US$0.02. The capsules are easy to handle; they don’t need to be stored in a refrigerator or vaccine carrier. When the correct dosage is given, vitamin A is safe and has no negative effect on seroconversion rates for Oral Polio Vaccine or measles vaccine. However, because the benefit of vitamin A supplements is transient, children need them regularly every four to six months. Since NIDs provide only one dose per year, NIDs-linked vitamin A distribution must be complemented by other dose programs to maintain vitamin A in children Maternal high supplementation benefits both mother and breast-fed infant: high dose vitamin A supplementation of the lactating mother in the first month postpartum can provide the breast-fed infant with an appropriate amount of vitamin A through breast milk. However, high-dose supplementation of pregnant women should be avoided because it can cause miscarriage and birth defects. Some non-profit, non-governmental organizations have taken on the task of Vitamin A deficiency prevention as well. One such organization is Vitamin Angels. Vitamin Angels has committed itself to eradicating childhood blindness due to Vitamin A deficiency on the planet by the year 2020. Operation 20/20 was launched in 2007 and will cover 18 countries. The program gives children two high dose vitamin A and anti-parasitic supplements (twice a year for four years), which provides children with enough of the nutrient during their most vulnerable years in order to prevent them from going blind and suffering from other life-threatening diseases caused by Vitamin A Deficiency. 
Food fortification is also useful for improving vitamin A deficiency. A variety of oily and dry forms of the retinol esters, retinyl acetates and retinyl palmitate are available for food fortification of vitamin A. Margarine and oil are the ideal food vehicles for vitamin A fortification. They protect vitamin A from oxidation during storage and prompt absorption of vitamin A. β-carotene and retinyl acetate or retinyl palmitate are used as a form of vitamin A for vitamin A fortification of fat-based foods. Fortification of sugar with retinyl palmitate as a form of vitamin A has been used extensively throughout Central America. Cereal flours, milk powder, liquid milk are also used as food vehicles for vitamin A fortification. Dietary diversification can also control vitamin A deficiency. Non-animal sources of vitamin A which contain pre-formed vitamin A account for greater than 80% of intake for most individuals in the developing world. The increase in consumption of vitamin A-rich foods of animal origin in addition to fruits and vegetables has beneficial effects on vitamin A deficiency.
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