A strategy for scaling up vitamin A supplementation for young children in a remote rural setting in Zimbabwe
Background. Vitamin A deficiency is a public health problem in Zimbabwe. Addressing vitamin A deficiency has the potential to enhance resistance to disease and reduce mortality, especially in children aged <5 years.
Objective. To describe a vitamin A supplementation outreach strategy implemented in one of the remote rural districts in Zimbabwe, which increased coverage after being implemented in difficult circumstances in a remote rural region.
Methods. We implemented and adapted a vitamin A supplementation outreach strategy within the national immunisation days (NIDs) and extended programme of immunisation in a remote rural district in Zimbabwe. The strategy involved supplementating children at prescheduled outreach points once per month for the whole year. Despite usual operational challenges faced at implementation, this approach enabled the district to increase delivery of vitamin A supplements to young children in the district.
Results. The strategy covered 63 outreach sites, with two sites being covered per day and visited once per month for the whole year. Coverage reached 71% in an area in which previous coverage rates were around <50%.
Conclusion. Implementing a vitamin A supplementation outreach strategy increased vitamin A supplementation coverage among children living in a remote rural region. This strategy can potentially be used by Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) member states. However, we recommend further exploration of this strategy by others working in similar circumstances.