ACT continues to focus on saving lives and improving the health of women and children through better nutrition engaged itself in VAS (Vitamin A Supplementation) campaign. Approximately 1000 women die from pregnancy and childbirth complications worldwide every day. Vitamin A deficiency also affects about 19 million pregnant women, mostly from the World Health Organization (WHO) regions of Africa and South-East Asia. As a result, children are born with vitamin A deficiency.
There was a unanimous recommendation that the intensified monitoring strategy piloted in the 4 districts and 7 union councils each in Lahore and Karachi should be extended to all the 24 low coverage areas. ACT further supported the implementation of intensified monitoring strategy to all 24 districts during the period 2013 to 2015. During the pilot of intensified monitoring strategy, importance of training of district focal persons was realized, as a result each year NI team organizes vitamin A supplementation workshop for DFPs in their respective provinces. DFPs are responsible for cascade training of area in-charges & teams who administer polio vaccine and vitamin A. To support this initiative, vitamin A supplementation (VAS) workshop for district focal persons (DFPs) of Sindh, Baluchistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa & Lahore was conducted by Nutrition International in collaboration with the Provincial Health Department, National and Provincial Emergency Operation Cell & Expanded Program for Immunization (EPI).
Following were the components address during Provincial training:
- A revised version of existing tally sheets with separate recording of the children missed for VAS in addition to OPV. Names of children missed out for VAS were also recorded in the tally sheets.
- Training of frontline workers in the districts who in turn trained the Area In-Charges & teams.
- Information on VAS was included in the monitoring checklists & roll up reporting formats.
- Door marking done for OPV was modified to include separate color marking for VAS to identify children who did not receive VAS. Children who were found to be missed for vitamin A dose were subsequently covered during the mop-up days.
ACT also provide logistical and managerial support to NI for conducting capacity building of District Focal Points (DFPs). The capacity building of the DFPs had covered issues such as importance of Vitamin A, improving VAS coverage, management of used and un-used capsules for accurate forecasting, role of DFPs in NIDs sharing of coverage data particularly focusing on low coverage districts to improve coverage.
The project is successfully completed in four provinces of Pakistan. Trainings improved participants understanding of epidemiology of Vitamin A and provided them an opportunity to enhance their knowledge and realize the importance of Vitamin A in reducing child morbidity and mortality.