A – OK? – Ghana

December 2003
Of the 32,000 children who die every day from preventable causes, over 20% are killed by shortage of a vital nutrient. Vitamin A is essential for the functioning of the human immune system, and its deficiency also causes childhood blindness. In industrialized countries, foods like flour or sugar have been fortified with it for decades. But it’s not the same picture in some developing countries, where children with Vitamin A deficiency still run the risk of dying from common childhood illnesses like measles and diarrhoea. The cost of ensuring that all children receive enough Vitamin A is minimal – the twice-yearly capsules cost just 2 cents apiece – and this Life programme looks at the political inertia surrounding the issue, and a new campaign designed to ensure the right of all children in the developing world to adequate nutrition through the provision of Vitamin A supplements or the fortification of essential foods. And it goes on to explore a controversial new development to provide basic crops like rice genetically modified to include Vitamin A.