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Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is associated with increased morbidity and mortality, especially
among pregnant, lactating women and children. Its availability in the body therefore plays a very
important role in the physiology of vision and immunity. The aim of this study is to determine
the factors affecting the uptake of vitamin A supplements among under-five children in Umuahia
North LGA of Abia State.
A cross-sectional approach was adopted in conducting this study among mothers/caregivers of
under five children in households in the study area who were administered interviewer
administered questionnaire meant to elicit Socio-demographic information of mother/caregiver,
Awareness of vitamin A supplementation of mothers/caregivers, Attitude of respondents on
Vitamin A supplementation, Acceptability of vitamin A supplement in the communities, and
Availability of Vitamin A Supplement in all the selected health centres in Umuahia North Local
Government Area (UNLGA).
A total of 400 respondents from different communities in Local Government were included in
the study. Similarly, Health Care Workers from the ten selected health facilities in the Local
Government were also included. The mean age of mothers was 31.5(SD=6.67) years that of their
children was 26.4 (SD= 14.6) months. Majority of the respondents were married women (92%).
About 48.3% had a tertiary education and were house workers or businesswomen 20.8%, 27.3%
respectfully. The coverage for vitamin A supplementation was 58.1% and it associated with
child‘s age and tribe (Odd= 13.44, p= 0.009), (Odd= 9.71, p= 0.008). The awareness and
knowledge scores indicated that awareness was slightly above average score while knowledge
was good on relevant information on vitamin A supplementation, causes of deficiency, signs and
symptoms of deficiency and measures of prevention of vitamin A deficiency respectively. The
attitude scores also indicated an achievement of average result scores of the respondents‘
Vitamin A coverage in the study was similar though slightly below the national figure for Abia
State of 66% in 2013. The study recommended need for the government to make adequate
provision of vitamin A at all time in registered private and government health facilities within
the local government area and provide good training to healthcare professional.
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background of the Study
Micronutrients are nutrients required by the body in minute amount for proper body functions.1
Micronutrients which include vitamins and minerals play vital roles in body growth and
development, reproduction, brain functions and resistance to diseases among others. Vitamin A,
iron, iodine and recently zinc are the major micronutrients of public health importance especially
in developing country like Nigeria,2 this is because of the severity and seriousness of their
deficiencies and consequences on health, learning capacities and the productivity of affected
people. Micronutrient deficiencies increase morbidity and mortality rates not only in children
under-five years, pregnant and lactating mothers, who are more vulnerable but also to the general
populace including vibrant adolescents.3 It is generally known that the prevalence of malnutrition
and micronutrients deficiency increases rapidly in under-five children because of rapid growth
and development, therefore deficiency of these micronutrients inhibits the normal health, growth
and development of children under five years of age. Children may look healthy and their diets
may provide adequate energy and protein but are lacking in micronutrients. This is referred to as
Vitamin A is the name of a group of fat-soluble retinoid, including retinol, retinal esters, they are
stored in the liver. Two different types of vitamin A are found in the diet. Preformed vitamin A is
found in animal products such as meat, fish, poultry and dairy foods. The other type, pro-vitamin
A (commonest type) is found in plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables.
Vitamin A is also available in dietary supplements, usually in the form of retinyl acetate or
retinyl palmitate (preformed vitamin A), beta-carotene (pro-vitamin A) or a combination of
preformed and pro-vitamin A.
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