Dr Kiran: “Hello folks, In the early years of Asha, I remember seeing shocking symptoms of Vitamin A deficiency in young children. These symptoms were due to severe forms of Vitamin A deficiency.
I saw children becoming blind at night, and this was followed by complete blindness due to melting and dying of the cornea.
This was because the extreme poverty meant that their diet was severely deficient in Vitamin A rich foods. These are meat, fish, eggs and dairy products that of course slum residents could never afford to consume. It is also found in red and yellow vegetables and fruits. However, slum residents rarely eat a variety of fruits. The only source I saw possible was Carrots and Spinach.
Children with dry eyes, an inflamed skin, dead corneas, frequent respiratory infections, stunting, eczema, and women not able to have babies was a common occurrence.
I soon began a Vitamin A Prophylaxis Program which meant giving children between 1-5 years of age 200,000 International Units of Vitamin A every six months. Along with this, I also began to give deworming medicines ( broad spectrum) because I saw children with many different types of worm infestations.
It is such a critically important intervention, and every single Asha child is registered on the program, receiving timely doses.
From those days when Vitamin A deficiency needed me to give children emergency Vitamin A injections to prevent them from getting blind, I have seen remarkable progress, with the Asha children all being shielded from the terrible effects of Vitamin A deficiency.
However, we must continue our efforts with urgency because the diet of the residents, specially during the pandemic with all their financial troubles, are highly deficient in Vitamin A.
Deficiency of this vitamin is rarely seen in developed countries.
Thank you to everyone of you for helping us save the eyes of our children. It is my hope that you will continue to raise resources so we can make sure each Asha child is looked after with loving concern and deep compassion.
Here are some pictures of Asha team members giving Vitamin A to our children.”
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