DOES A HELP?
ANCHOR LEAD: CONTROVERSY CONTINUES OVER THE BENEFITS OF VITAMIN A SUPPLEMENTATION, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Why does a wealth of evidence suggest a benefit in maternal and infant mortality when vitamin A supplements are given during pregnancy but a huge study from Ghana contradicts the finding? William Checkley, author of a recent Johns Hopkins study relating lung size and function to the supplements, explains the issue is one of scarcity.
CHECKLEY: Vitamin A is one of those key nutrients that are essential for growth and cell differentiation. In populations where there is a high prevalence of vitamin A deficiency one could see many complications of that including increases in infant mortality and maternal mortality. :17
So Africa isn’t as vitamin A deficient as Nepal.
CHECKLEY: They are two different settings. Maternal mortality is significantly lower in Africa, also the prevalence of vitamin A deficiency is much lower. :07
Checkley says such studies help governments decide where to allocate scarce resources more effectively. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.