vitamin A supplementation and infant survival

If ever there was work in progress it is on the topic of vitamin A supplementation in newborns and child survival. Vitamin A supplementation at 6-72 months of age has become a mainline intervention for improving survival in poverty stricken populations. Giving vitamin A supplements to newborns in the first days of life in Asian babies has benefit for survival But in African babies. Yet giving at 1-6 months has no benefit.
Studies in Africa and Asia produce different results and answers.
Here is a real conundrum, so the advise is supplementation ( 50,000 IU ) after 6 months but earlier is unjustified in general but time will tell.
Tielsch 2008 Vitamin supplementation in newborns and child survival , vol 336, pp 1385-1386
Benn et al 2008 Effect of 50,000 IU vitamin A with BCG vaccine on mortality in infants in Guinea-Bissau: randomised placebo controlled trial BMJ vol 336 pp 1416-20

Martin Eastwood
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