effect:hope, MAP International, Vitamin Angels to assist 1.8 million children in Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire
10 AUGUST 2016 | Nairobi, Kenya—Three international health NGOs launched Every Child Thrives today—an innovative project that will tackle Vitamin A deficiency and intestinal parasites—debilitating and potentially deadly diseases that affect millions of children under the age of 5 worldwide every year.
Every Child Thrives (ECT) will treat 1.8 million children in Kenya and Côte d’Ivoire over the next four years with a combination of Vitamin A supplementation and deworming interventions.
ECT targets children under the age of 5 who are not included in national school-based treatment programs. However, they are often the most vulnerable to the effects of Vitamin A deficiency and soil-transmitted helminth (parasitic worm) diseases that cause multiple health issues. Integrating Vitamin A supplementation with deworming can give these children a better foundation for lifelong health.
The project will be jointly implemented by effect:hope (The Leprosy Mission Canada), Medical Assistance Programs (MAP) International, Vitamin Angels and the Ministries of Health in Kenya and Côte d’Ivoire. ECT is undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada.
In Kenya, 84 percent of children under the age of 5 have a Vitamin A deficiency. In Côte d’Ivoire, 57 percent suffer from this disorder. More than two-thirds of children in both countries require treatment for intestinal worms (World Health Organization).
ECT will serve communities in Kilifi, Kwale and Siaya counties in Kenya. In Côte d’Ivoire, the project will operate across 24 districts.
Government and community health workers will receive training on how to provide the combined treatments effectively.
- Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is the leading cause of preventable blindness in children. It also increases the risk of severe illness and death from common childhood infections, such as diarrheal disease and measles.
- VAD can be prevented and treated. Periodic low-cost Vitamin A supplements can reduce child morbidity and mortality by up to 23 percent (WHO).
- Soil-transmitted helminth(STH) diseases (“helminth” means parasitic worm) are caused by infection with roundworm, hookworm or whipworm, and can include diarrhea, abdominal pain, intestinal obstruction, anemia, and retarded growth and cognitive development. Regular treatment twice a year with drugs that control the infections and decreases these health risks. (Centers for Disease Control and Infection).
- Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) are a group of parasitic and bacterial diseases that cause substantial illness for more than one billion people globally and perpetuate poverty (CDCI).
Peter Derrick, Executive Director, effect:hope (The Leprosy Mission Canada)
“As a leading Canadian organization fighting Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), effect:hope is proud to launch Every Child Thrives in Kenya and Côte d’Ivoire. By combining Vitamin A supplementation and deworming interventions, this pioneering project will give 1.8 million African children a solid foundation for lifelong health. We are grateful to Global Affairs Canada for their continued investment in NTDs and micronutrient supplementation and to effect: hope’s 14,000 donors who have made this work possible.”
Steve Stirling, CEO, Medical Assistance Programs (MAP) International
“The Every Child Thrives initiative is a huge step towards saving the lives of children under the age of 5 in Kenya and Côte d’Ivoire. MAP International is honoured to be part of this initiative to work alongside local governments and international partners to provide deworming medicines and Vitamin A to over 1.8 million children under the age of 5, impacting more than 5 million community members through training and awareness.”
Karen Homer, Communications
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