The “miraculous” effect of Vitamin A supplementation

As a young doctor working in East Nepal in the late 1980s, Dr David Nabarro first appreciated the significance of vitamin A deficiency in young children. Health workers on his team were coming across high levels of eye damage, including blindness, among the local communities that caused enormous suffering and were attributed to a combination of diet and illness.

It was also during this time that Dr Nabarro became aware of the work of the Nepalese team who collaborated with Al Sommer and Keith West, on the connection between vitamin A deficiency and xerophthalmia.

The Nepalese team set up a Vitamin A Administration Center in Nepal, providing vitamin A to local communities in the form of capsules.

Dr Nabarro describes the effects as “miraculous”. The sight of thousands of children was saved.

Nabarro states that: “At the time, it was an innovative public health intervention,” however he feels it has since “that it paved the way for others.”

Read more of Dr David Nabarro’s foreword to the Partners in preventing micronutrient deficiencies case study for Sight and Life here.

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