Health

After failing to buy vitamin A, five provinces turn to federal government for help

  • Health Ministry says it will soon start the process to procure the essential supplement
- ARJUN PAUDEL, Kathmandu

Apr 14, 2019-

Five out of seven provinces have requested concerned agencies of the federal government to procure vitamin A supplement for them.

The federal government had allocated budget to procure vitamin A supplement and other essential medicines to provincial governments for fiscal year 2018/2019. But officials say the provincial governments do not know the procurement process, including the international bidding system.

The Logistic Management Division under the Department of Health Sciences said it has been providing training to the concerned ministries of the provincial governments to assist them in international bidding.

Meanwhile, Dr Surendra Chaurasia, deputy health administrator at the division, said Provinces 1, 3, 5, 6 and Gandaki Province had requested his office to procure vitamin A supplement.

“Only the Sudurpaschim Province has so far procured vitamin A supplement,” Chaurasia told the Post. “The Ministry of Social Development of Province 2 has said that it would procure the supplement by itself, but it has yet to start the process.”

The government has been conducting nationwide campaigns twice a year since 2003—in October and in April—to administer vitamin A supplements to about 2.7 million children.

As the provincial governments have yet to start the procurement process, Chaurasia said that his division had requested UNICEF to provide them with vitamin A supplements to run the October campaign.

Vitamin A deficiency was one of the major public health problems in the past. But with the implementation of the campaign, the problem is no longer a public health concern.

The programme has a coverage rate of over 94 percent, the highest among health campaigns and programmes, according to the Health Ministry.

According to the World Health Organisation, lack of vitamin A causes visual impairment (night blindness) and vulnerability to illnesses like measles and diarrhea among children. Vitamin A supplements mitigate the risk of such diseases.

Published: 15-04-2019 06:30

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