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Vitamin A deficiency is a major public health problem throughout the developing world, affecting an estimated 124 million young children and accounting for more than 1 million child deaths each year.' A meta-analysis of eight controlled trials estimated that community-based vitamin A supplementation resulted in a 23% average reduction in child mortality rates. Large-dose periodic supplementation of preschool children is an integral component of child survival programmes in many countries, and is well tolerated.' Supplementation of neonates with 50 000 international units (ill) vitamin N has been recommended. The aim of this study conducted in Indonesia was to determine the risks and benefits of neonatal vitamin A supplementation. This work has been published elsewhere in three papers.'"