Vitamin Angels

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Vitamins save lives

One third of all childhood deaths are attributable to under-nutrition. We can change that. For young children, essential nutrients help build the foundation for good health and the opportunity to lead meaningful and productive lives.

Vitamin Angel's mission is to mobilize and deploy private sector resources to advance availability, access and use of micronutrients, especially vitamin A, among at-risk populations in need. Vitamin Angels focuses on two main programs that ensure maximum impact:

1.  Vitamin A

Worldwide, an estimated 190 million children under the age of five suffer from vitamin A deficiency (VAD), a major underlying cause of child mortality and blindness around the world. However, with a simple, cost-effective vitamin A capsule every six months we can reduce VAD blindness and reduce under-five child mortality by about 24 percent in at-risk populations.

Vitamin A is essential to immune function especially in children under five who are most vulnerable to common infections and diseases. Together with health advocates worldwide, distribution of vitamin A has helped reduce the estimated number of deaths in children under five from 16 million in 1970 to less than 8 million annually in 2010. 

With so many children suffering from VAD worldwide, the rate of infants and children contracting such common diseases as measles, malaria, diarrhea and acute respiratory tract infections is dangerously high. Battling these illnesses with weakened immune systems, a consequence of VAD, results in too many young lives cut short.

A proven solution to VAD is at our fingertips. Vitamin A supplementation is simple, cost-effective, and together with zinc supplementation was ranked by a group of world-renowned economists as the top international priority for addressing the world's greatest global development challenges. Unlike other treatments, one high-dose vitamin A capsule can provide one child with sufficient vitamin A for six months. This alone can reduce under-five child mortality by about 24 percent in populations at risk of vitamin A deficiency. It can also help prevent and reverse one of the most severe effects of VAD, xerophthalmia, a disorder of the eye that can lead to permanent blindness

By connecting infants and children under five with vitamin A, Vitamin Angels' Operation 20/20 program dramatically decreases mortality rates in areas targeted by the program.

Vitamin Angels focuses on the underserved and those without access to facility-based health services. Their high impact results arise from a focus on vulnerable populations through partnerships with groups who have a local presence and intimate understanding of the community being served. In doing so, every project is localized to apply solutions and proven methods for distributing vitamin A at the community level consistent with accepted best practices.

In addition, Operation 20/20 often combines vitamin A with anti-parasitic treatments that eliminate the presence of intestinal worms that contribute to poor absorption of vitamin A. This ensures that children at risk obtain sufficient vitamin A, decreasing the effects VAD and advancing child immune function and survival.

2.  Multivitamins

Essential multiple micronutrients, or multivitamins, reduce the effects of under-nutrition and malnutrition in children under five. Vitamin Angel’s program offers infants and children the nutrients they need to grow up healthy, increasing their potential for educational and economic achievements in life.

Essential nutrients are a critical part of health, including physical and cognitive development. Children who suffer from vitamin deficiencies are unable to reach their full potential. Health, education, productivity and human achievement are compromised.

More than two billion people worldwide are deficient in essential nutrients. New and expecting mothers and children under five are the groups most vulnerable to vitamin deficiencies. Because they have a relatively greater need for vitamins and minerals, they are more adversely affected by those deficiencies, particularly of vitamin A, iron, iodine and zinc. Many lack more than one of these essential nutrients.

Multivitamins for children and pregnant and lactating women provide daily recommended amounts of key vitamins and minerals important for a range of functions essential to good health.

A global multi-vitamin campaign

Through the Thrive to Five program, Vitamin Angels distributes essential micronutrients to children under five and pregnant and lactating women who live in settings where under-nutrition and malnutrition are known to be prevalent. Thrive to Five gives children the vital first step they need to excel physically and cognitively, rather than simply survive their key developmental years.

By providing at-risk children with essential nutrients, Vitamin Angels reaches these young lives before their health and development are negatively impacted. Well-nourished children take better advantage of available educational opportunities.  They also provide essential nutrients to new and expecting mothers, increasing the health of both mother and child.

Vitamin Angels achieves results by working with partners that have a local presence. By tapping these groups’ intimate understanding of the communities being served, every project is localized to apply targeted solutions, while also employing accepted best practices for distributing essential nutrients.

Thrive to Five currently distributes around 100 million doses of essential micronutrients annually in 26 countries, including the United States, on four continents.

For more information about Vitamin Angels, please visit vitaminangels.org.

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