Vitamins in the fight against childhood blindness
Thousands of vitamin capsules have been distributed by Mercy Air in Mozambique – a simple but very effective way of preventing childhood blindness.
Poverty as a cause
Mozambique is one of the poorest countries in the world. Which is why so many illnesses caused by the lack of vitamins are so common. Children especially suffer the most under these circumstances.
Capsules save eyesight
A lack of vitamin A for example is the consequence of not having enough of the correct food.
In many cases the symptom is linked with measles or diarrhea. Over an extended period of time, the lack of vitamin A can lead to an opacity of the cornea and the child becomes blind.
Every year 350,000 to 500,000 children worldwide lose their eyesight because of the deficiency of vitamin A.
With the help of this simple intervention, up to 80 % of loss of sight could be prevented. But medical eye clinics are virtually nonexistent. For Mozambique's 20 million inhabitants there are only 15 functioning eye clinics.
The distribution of vitamin A capsules to sick children can avert incurable blindness. Children at risk receive vitamin A capsules as a preventative measure. One capsule protects a child for half a year from going blind. Aid organizations like UNICEF, Save the Children and WHO provide thousands of boxes with vitamins for this campaign.
Mercy Air flew local medical personnel to seven hard-to-reach villages like Nhiando (picture). In each of these villages three to four hundred children were treated with vitamin capsules. In addition these children were examined for their overall state of health. At the same time minor injuries like cuts and burns were treated professionally.