- About A2Z
- Focus Areas
- Country Activities
- Child Blindness
Sierra Leone ranks last on the United Nation’s Human Development Index (2005). High levels of micronutrient deficiencies contribute to some of the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the world.
Sustainable Vitamin A Supplementation
A2Z worked through Helen Keller International (HKI) to support vitamin A supplementation (VAS) in several ways: as part of routine health center visits, twice-yearly mass campaigns, and community-based distribution. HKI assisted with rapid VAS coverage surveys, conducted a national assessment of the quality of nutrition services, developed micronutrient training modules, and provided in-service training for NGO and government primary health care staff. To extend reach, the project tested and evaluated a pilot initiative to promote the integration of VAS into an onchocerciasis control program in remote rural areas, trained traditional birth attendants and private health care providers in VAS, and mobilized local organizations to participate in community-based distribution of vitamin A. Behavior change communication activities included radio messages to heighten community awareness during twice-yearly vitamin A campaigns and the development of posters for Primary Health Units nationwide.
Scaling Up Maternal Anemia Reduction Packages
A2Z with HKI and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation tested a pilot community-based program to reduce anemia through support groups for pregnant women. Women who gave birth to healthy children were selected as group facilitators. The approach used multiple interventions (nutritional counseling, community-based prenatal visits, iron folic acid supplementation, deworming, intermittent preventive treatment of malaria, tetanus vaccination, and post-partum vitamin A supplementation). HKI promoted this approach with partners, developed training and monitoring tools, and monitored and supervised rural sites in Kambia District. Two international NGOs responded by initiating their own anemia reduction programs.
A2Z recently concluded its support for micronutrient activities in Sierra Leone.