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Forum global sur la sécurité alimentaire et la nutrition • Forum FSN

Re: Invitation to an open discussion on the political outcome document of the ICN2

Ted Greiner
Ted Greinerformerly Hanyang University and Natural Resources Institute, Greenwich UniversityBrazil

Para 6:  urges to "renew commitments" made in 1992. One of those commitments was the elimination of vitamin A deficiency. The only response that has been made by the donor community since then (and by most governments with exception of a few such as Thailand and Vietnam, which have implemented large-scale and successful food-based approaches) has been the distribution of megadose vitamin A capsules. These actually have only a small and temporary impact on vitamin A deficiency (usually reducing it for only 4-5 months/year) and thus, despite their being distributed on a very large scale in over 100 countries for many years now, vitamin A deficiency is still prevalent.

One of the problems is that the implementation of this approach has led to at best a lack of enthusiasm for the implementation of food-based approaches which are more likely to work and to be sustainable. (See for example http://www.wphna.org/htdocs/downloads/WPHNA_web_commentary_may2010.pdf)  In contradiction to donor-centric arguments that these approaches are more expensive than capsules, they can often actually generate income for the beneficiaries.

Thus I would argue that ICN2 no longer make promises about the elimination of vitamin A deficiency but instead should set a deadline by which countries replace capsule approaches with food-based approaches. The steps that might be involved in doing that safely and conservatively are listed at the end of this article: http://www.independentsciencenews.org/health/vitamin-a-wars-the-downsides-of-donor-driven-aid/

Ted Greiner, PhD
Professor of Nutrition
Department of Food and Nutrition
Hanyang University
222 Wangsimni Ro
Seoul 133-791
South Korea