Context

90% of people with visual impairments live in developing countries. While most visual impairments can be easily treated, the most effective and cost-effective approach is prevention. In fact, 80% of all cases of blindess are avoidable. According to the World Health Organisation, vitamin A deficiency due to malnutrition is one of the leading causes of blindness in children. This currently affects a third of children under five1, or 127 million children worldwide. 
In developing countries, 250,000 to 500,000 children go blind each year due to a lack of vitamin A. Vitamin A can prevent blindness, but it is also vital for a child's development in general. Studies have shown that increasing the Vitamin A intake for a child suffering from deficiency can reduce their mortality rate by nearly 23%.
In Bolivia, newborns and young children (27% are aged between 6 and 23 months) are more at risk of serious vitamin A deficiency. In Myanmar, 38% of the population suffers from a high level of vitamin A deficiency, with this figuring reaching 60% in some regions. Only 22% of children in Papua New Guinea are able to benefit from vitamin A supplements.


http://www.data.unicef.org/nutrition/vitamin-a.html#sthash.1Ai1QZMd.4BEFA5Nf.dpuf 

 

Supported project

In 2016, L'OCCITANE and its Foundation joined with UNICEF in financing international vitamin A supplement programmes, providing a minimum of 1 million euros per year for three years. These UNICEF programmes aim to give children aged 6 months to 5 years the two doses of vitamin A they require for proper development. This support focuses upon distribution taking place in three countries where deficiency is particularly prevalent: Myanmar, Papua New Guinea and Bolivia. 
In order to ensure that supplements are provided effectively, UNICEF is developing programmes which revolve around the following key principles: communication with those directly and indirectly affected, routine and targeted provision of vitamin A supplements, and awareness raising within the community. Funds raised by L'OCCITANE in 2018 have even allowed support for UNICEF programmes to be expanded to include an additional country, Niger. In December 2018, Niger adopted a national nutritional policy in which the country committed to taking action to prevent and treat all forms of malnutrition.  Vitamin A supplements are one of the priority actions included in this policy.
 

Some figures

Thanks to this project, 1.7 million children are receiving to doses of vitamin A each year in Bolivia, Myanmar and Papua New Guinea, protecting them from blindness and other illnesses resulting from vitamin A deficiency.
 360,000 children will also benefit in Niger. 

Total budget 3 360 000 euros

Total goal 2 060 000 beneficiaries

Testimonial

Ah Nyaw, a beneficiary's mother

"I also make sure that my son receives all of his vaccines and vitamins on time".
Ah Nyaw is a 24 year-old mother currently expecting her second baby. She lives in Gaw Maw, an isolated mountain village. When she had her first child, she wasn't aware of how important vitamin A was for the growth and proper development of her son, and how it could also prevent childhood blindness. Thanks to the opening of a health centre and increased awareness raising efforts, she now knows how to be ready for her second child and keep her family healthy.

Bénéficiaires UNICEF