Integrating Vitamin A Supplementation at 6 months into the Expanded Program of Immunization in Sierra Leone

Matern Child Health J. 2015 Sep;19(9):1985-92. doi: 10.1007/s10995-015-1706-1.


Since 2004, twice-yearly mass vitamin A supplementation (VAS) has equitably reached over 85% of children 6-59 months old in Sierra Leone. However infants who turn 6 months after the event may wait until they are 11 months old to receive their first dose. The effectiveness of integrating VAS at 6 months into the Expanded Program of Immunization (EPI) in a revised child health card was studied. Health facilities matched according to staff cadre and work load were assigned to provide either a 'mini package' of VAS and infant and young child feeding (IYCF), a 'full package' of VAS, IYCF and family planning (FP), or 'child health card' only. 400 neonates were enrolled into each group, caregivers given the new child health card and followed until they were 12 months old. More infants in the full: 74.5% and mini: 71.7% group received VAS between 6 and 7 months of age compared with the new CH card only group: 60.2% (p = 0.002, p < 0.001 respectively). FP commodities were provided to 44.5% of caregivers in the full compared with <2.5% in the mini and new child health card only groups (p < 0.0001). Integration of VAS within the EPI schedule achieved >60% coverage for infants between 6 and 7 months of age. Provision of FP and/or IYCF further improved coverage. Funding was provided by the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development who had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish or preparation of the manuscript.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunization / methods
  • Immunization Programs / methods*
  • Infant
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Male
  • Program Evaluation
  • Sierra Leone
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Vitamin A / therapeutic use*


  • Vitamin A