Effect of Vitamin A supplementation on preventing recurrent acute lower respiratory tract infections in children


  • Murthy Kanakala Department of Pediatrics, SVMCH and RC, Puducherry, India
  • Karunakar Pediredla Department of Pediatrics, SVMCH and RC, Puducherry, India
  • Natarajan Pachiappan Department of Pediatrics, SVMCH and RC, Puducherry, India
  • Rajendran Ramachari Ramayi Department of Pediatrics, SVMCH and RC, Puducherry, India
  • Tanveer Rehman Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry, India




Acute lower respiratory tract infection, Children, National immunization programme, Prevention, Supplementation, Vitamin A


Background: Acute Lower Respiratory Tract Infections (ALRTI) remains the major cause of increased morbidity and mortality in under-five children. Vitamin A has a protective role against infections in children. Vitamin A supplementation is given to under-five children as part of the National Immunization Programme in India. The aim of this study was to find out the effectiveness of vitamin A supplementation in preventing the recurrent ALRTI (≥3 episodes per year) in under-five children.

Methods: A cross-sectional analytical study was conducted to find out the role of vitamin A supplementation in reducing recurrent ALRTI in under-five children who were enrolled in Anganwadi centers (AWC’s) in Villupuram district, Tamil Nadu, India. Two hundred children of 1-5 years of age were selected by random systematic sampling. History was elicited and documents about vitamin A supplementation and previous episodes of ALRTI were verified. The association between recurrence of ALRTI and vitamin A supplementation was analyzed using chi-square test.

Results: The mean age of the children in this study is 24±8 months. The median number of episodes of ALRTI per year is 2 (1-3). Among 200 children enrolled in the study, 127 (63.5%) children received vitamin A supplementation and 73 (36.5%) did not receive it. There is a significant decrease in the number of ALRTI episodes (less than 3 episodes per year) in the children who received vitamin A supplementation (p <0.001).

Conclusions: Vitamin A supplementation along with the National Immunization Programme had shown reduced  ALRTI episodes. Since, the number of ALTRI episodes are directly proportional to mortality due to pneumonia, reduction in number of episodes can decrease the Under-five mortality. Vitamin A supplementation is an important programme in this regard and needs to be scrupulously carried out.


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