The programme was launched in 1970 with the objective of reducing the disease and preventing blindness due to Vitamin A deficiency. It was initially started in 7 states with severe problems. Later it was extended to the entire country.
Under the programme, children aged 6 months to 6 years were to be administered a mega dose of vitamin A at 6 monthly intervals. To prioritize Vitamin A administration, the programme was revised to give 5 mega doses at 6 months intervals to children 9 months to 3 years of age. In view of adequate supplies of Vitamin A, the target group has been revised to cover children 9 months- 5 years, since 2007.
Objectives: to decrease the prevalence of Vitamin A deficiency from current 0.6% to less than 0.5%.
- Health and nutrition education to encourage colostrum feeding, exclusive breast feeding for the first six months, introduction of complementary feeding thereafter and adequate intake of Vitamin A rich foods.
- Early detection and proper treatment of infections
- Prophylactic Vitamin A as per the following dosage schedule:
100000 IU at 9 months with measles immunisation
200000 IU at 16-18 months, with DPT booster
200000 IU every 6 moths, up to the age of 5 years.
Thus a total of 9 mega doses are to be given from 9 months of age up to 5 years.
- All children with xerophthalmia are to be treated at health facilities.
- All children having measles, to be given 1 dose of Vitamin A if they have not received it in the previous month.
- All cases of severe malnutrition to be given one additional dose of Vitamin A.