New Delhi, February 10, 2022: Vitamin Angels India has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with OmniActive Health Technologies (OmniActive) to provide Vitamin A supplementation (VAS) in Buldhana, Nashik, Aurangabad, Nanded, Nagpur, Dhule and Parbani districts of Maharashtra. OmniActive has provided a grant to Vitamin Angels India to reach 50,000 children under the age of five over a period of four months. Vitamin Angels India will also undertake capacity building of 300 frontline workers for the distribution process.
Despite the progress in recent years through POSHAN Abhiyaan, Vitamin A deficiency continues to pose a major public health challenge and remains a primary cause of childhood blindness and a contributor to malnutrition in India. The problem is particularly acute in hard to reach, socio-economically challenged areas where there is a lack of awareness about Vitamin A deficiencies and VAS coverage has been insufficient. This partnership aims to complement the government’s efforts in the delivery of VAS to underserved populations in Maharashtra, particularly focusing on the districts of Nashik, Dhule and Parbani that have below 60 per cent VAS coverage.
Speaking about the partnership, Sunish Jauhari, President, Vitamin Angels, India stated, “A sizeable population in India, particularly socio-economically marginalized groups, lack access to a micronutrient-rich diet. Around 62% of children under five in India have low retinol levels due to insufficient dietary intakes of Vitamin A, which contributes to approximately 330,000 deaths annually. These are preventable deaths. Evidence demonstrates that VAS increases child survival, boosts the immune system, promotes physical growth, prevents blindness, mitigates the incidence of measles, and reduces the mortality rate by 24 per cent for children under five. While the POSHAN Abhiyaan has increased coverage of VAS in the last few years, there are areas where the government’s efforts need support from community-based organisations in order to improve nutritional outcomes. I am glad to announce that this grant will help us in supporting the government’s efforts in select districts of Maharashtra.”
According to Mark Dewis, CEO at OmniActive, “As an organisation working towards improving health outcomes, we are happy to partner with Vitamin Angels India in supporting this initiative. The role of the private sector has become imperative in supporting the government’s efforts to address persistent public health challenges such as malnutrition. This partnership focuses on select districts where we have witnessed a reduction in coverage of VAS. We hope that our efforts enable improvement in the nutritional outcomes of vulnerable groups in the State.”