NUTRITION ARTICEL: Fighting Vitamin A and Iodine deficiencies, major campaign of Ilocos Sur Nutrition Office

By Imelda Castro-Rivero


Vitamin A deficiency causes serious eye lesion, blindness, low resistance to infection and death. Iodine deficiency can lead to goiter, mental and physical retardation, brain damage, and loss of IQ points. And preventing these deficiencies is a must in every household, shared  the Ilocos Sur Nutrition Office.

Fighting these deficiencies is one of the major campaigns in all the rural health centers in the 32 towns and two cities of the province, Amparo Javillonar, the provincial nutrition officer, said.

Monitoring the campaign and implementation of the program in these places is conducted by her office throughout the year.

Vitamin A is needed by everybody, especially children for normal growth and protection against infections, she said. And lactating women who have the highest requirement of vitamin A.

The most commonly affected with vitamin A deficiency are children who recently suffered from measles, chronic diarrhea, acute respiratory infections, and those who are severely, moderately and mildly malnourished.

Those who have enough vitamin A in their bodies have strong resistance against infection. The duration and severity of the infection is reduced. So children and pregnant who are deficient of vitamin A have high risk of death.

Iodine deficiency disorder (IDD) happens when there is no enough iodine in the diets of people. This causes mental retardation, low intelligence quotient (IQ) among school  kids, physical deformities, slow growth, low work capacity, fatigue, miscarriages and still births. It also leads to serious and irreversible damage in the brain and nervous system during the development of the fetus in the mother’s womb.

Getting vitamin A and iodine

Javillonar said that every family must go their health centers to avail of the Vitamin A supplements twice a year. This is during the Garantisadong Pambata (Surely for the Children) in April, October and November.

Vitamin A is given to infants from 9-12 months, children from 12 to 59 months, lactating and pregnant women.

Javillonar emphasized that children who have the signs and symptoms of Vitamin A deficiency should receive more supplements with a schedule of one Vitamin A capsule today, one tomorrow, and one again after two weeks.

More importantly, she said, is that every family must see to it that they eat Vitamin A rich foods like dilis (dried fish), liver, eggs, green leafy and yellow fruits and vegetables such as squash, papaya, carrots, pechay, kangkong, malunngay, saluyot and others available in the locality.

Eating foods with SAngkap Pinoy Seal of the Department of Health, foods added with vitamin A, iron, calcium, iodine and other vitamins and minerals, is also recommended.

Using only iodized salt in cooking and as table salt, she added, prevents and treats iodine deficiency disorder. So with eating sea foods./