Impact of neonatal vitamin A supplementation on infant morbidity and mortality

J Pediatr. 1996 Apr;128(4):489-96. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3476(96)70359-1.


Objective: To determine whether vitamin A supplementation at birth could reduce infant morbidity and mortality.

Study design: We conducted a placebo-controlled trial among 2067 Indonesian neonates who received either 52 micromol (50,000 IU) orally administered vitamin A or placebo on the first day of life. Infants were followed up at 1 year to determine the impact of this intervention on infant mortality. A subgroup (n = 470) was also examined at 4 and 6 months of age to examine the impact on morbidity.

Results: Vital status was confirmed in 89% of infants in both groups at 1 year. There were 19 deaths in the control group and 7 in the vitamin A group (relative risk = 0.36; 95% confidence interval = 0.16, 0.87). The impact was stronger among boys, infants of normal compared with low birth weight, and those of greater ponderal index. Among infants examined at 4 months of age, the 1-week period prevalence of common morbidities was similar for vitamin A and control infants. However, during this same 4-month period, 73% and 51% more control infants were brought for medical treatment for cough (p = 0.008) and fever (p = 0.063), respectively.

Conclusions: Neonatal vitamin A supplementation may reduce the infant mortality rate and the prevalence of severe respiratory infection among young infants.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Birth Weight
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant Mortality*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Morbidity
  • Survival Rate
  • Vitamin A / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin A / therapeutic use*


  • Vitamin A