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  • Nagaland Government and Vitamin Angels India partner to improve vitamin A supplementation coverage in the state

    Published on May 29, 2024

    program participant, Age 3, child, 2021, INDIA, nagaland, Vitamin A India, Rohit Jain, dosing, IN2021SEP-Nagaland-R309, Lomching (child), Dosing India, Vitamin A Three-year-old Lomching from Phom tribe receives Vitamin A dose by Asha worker*, in village Oushok, Longleng District, Nagaland, India. Photo Release no. ñ IN21-R308 Photo by Rohit Jain for Vitamin Angels India * An accredited social health activist (ASHA ñ Community Health Worker)

     Kohima :The National Health Mission, Government of Nagaland and Vitamin AngelsIndia (VAI)entered into a partnershipto strengthen and expand evidence-based nutrition interventions, specifically vitamin A supplementation and deworming among under-five populations. A Technical Support Group has been created including key officials from NHM, Nagaland and Vitamin Angels India. The demonstration pilot will be undertaken across 3 districts, namely Dimapur, Niuland and Chümoukedima over 2024-25. The project is an extension of an ongoing partnership between both parties and uses an implementation science approach to increasing the demand and improving the supply and delivery of vitamin A,

    Micronutrient deficiency is a major contributor to childhood morbidity and mortality globally. Vitamin A is an essential nutrient for the immune system and severe Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD) can cause irreversible childhood blindness, reduce immunity and increasechances of mortality frommeasles and diarrhoeal disease. The Government of India recommends that children under 5 years of age receive 9 dosages of vitamin A supplements every six months, starting at age 9 months.

    According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5, 2019-21), about 46% of children age 9-35 months received VAS in Nagaland as compared to about 71% at the all India level. United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) believes that while universal coverage (i.e. 100%) is the ultimate goal, however even 80% coverage is an indication of a strong programme.

    While Vitamin Angels has been working in partnership with local NGOs since 2011, they formally entered into an MoU with NHM, Nagaland in 2021 with an overall vision to improve child health indicators through a health system strengthening approach. The non-profithas been providing technical assistance to the state government to strengthen delivery of  nutrition interventions. The latest announcement comes as an extension to this ongoing partnership.

    Speaking about the partnership , Dr. Khelito Zhimomi Joint Director, SPO- RMNCAH+N said,“Nagaland has made significant strides in improving nutritional indicators among women and children. We are keen on working intensively to understand and improve areas we are lagging in, and appreciate the support of Vitamin Angels India. This is an opportunity for us to address both demand and supply challenges in supplementation and we have offered our full support to the teams on-ground from NHM and VA. We look forward to positive improvements in the time to come.”

    Reiterating the importance of the agreement, Shruti Menon, Associate Director of Programs at Vitamin Angels India said, “We have been working in Nagaland since our inception in India and are extremely grateful to the NHM leadership in the state for continuing our longstanding partnership. We are determined and invested in improving health and nutrition services till the last-mile. What excites us most about this pilot is the buy-in from the State Government to co-create solutions by keeping the community/end users at the centre and leveraging a wide range of stakeholders including NGOs, SHGs, youth and church groups, and other community influencers.”

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