Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - A contribution to a healthy future

A contribution to a healthy future

A contribution to a healthy future

Nutritional deficiencies, also referred to as malnutrition, are widely spread in developing countries. The consequences are utterly devastating. For example, malnourished children compared to their well-nourished counterparts have impaired growth, more severe illnesses, an increased mortality risk or a lower performance at school. The most frequent forms of malnutrition are protein-energymalnutrition (PEM) and micronutrient deficiencies, such as Vitamin A, iron and iodine deficiency. Other micronutrients of concern are B Vitamins, Vitamin C and zinc. Often micronutrient deficiencies are combined. For example, in northern Morocco the prevalence of Vitamin A deficiency in children is as high as 50%. Many of those children are iodine deficient too, indicated by a goiter rate of more than 80%. Similarly, there is a high prevalence of iron deficiency in Moroccan children, with 35-40% of children affected.

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin. Vitamin A plays a pivotal role in reproduction and supports growth and immune function. It is important for the skin, the integrity of mucosal surfaces and normal wound healing. Vitamin A is also essential for visual function as a component of visual purple. The liver can often compensate for considerable daily and seasonal variations in Vitamin A supply. However, the liver stores of young children and mothers are often very low.

Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is the most common form of vitamin deficiency in the world. It is estimated that VAD exists in more than 70 developing countries. VAD primarily occurs in infants and young children. VAD is also increasingly recognized in women, and may account for most maternal deaths. Initial symptoms of VAD include increased sensitivity to light, dry eyes (xerophthalmia) and impaired adaptation to the dark (nightblindness). In advanced stages, ulcerations of the conjunctiva occur and eventually lead to complete blindness, particularly in small children.


  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all