Pakistan Institute of Community Ophthalmology

Vitamin A Deficiency in Pakistan (VAD)

The World Health Organization has listed Pakistan as a country with severe sub-clinical VAD1. Pakistan has an under 5 mortality of 101 / 1000 which is more than India (85), Bangladesh (77) and Nepal (76) 2. The proportion of children under-five year olds suffering from wasting and stunting is almost similar to children in India, Bangladesh and Nepal. Clinical cases of VAD have been reported from these countries and active vitamin A distribution programs have been in place for a long time. A total of 154 children 0-15 years of age were reported to have been suffering from xerophthalmia from North West Frontier Province of Pakistan. One hundred and twenty three children (79%) were age 6 years and below. Ninety-four children (61%) had blinding xerophthalmia (corneal xerosis, corneal ulcer, keratomalacia). Out of 94 children with blinding xerophthalmia, 73 (78%) of children were less than 3 years of age. Ninety-nine children (64%) were male and 55 children (36%) were female3.