In this section
Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin that is required for vision, immune function, growth and maintenance of epithelial cells. Infants accumulate stores in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy and rely on breast milk for supply. Vitamin A is measured in retinol equivalents . Foods contain both retinol and vitamin A precursors (carotenoids), which can be converted to vitamin A.
WHO recommends supplementation in high risk* children and women post-partum to prevent vitamin A deficiency.[6, 7] Vitamin A deficiency is associated with visual impairment and increased mortality in children, particularly from measles and diarrhoea. Treatment with vitamin A has been shown to reduce mortality in children with measles infection.[1, 2] Vitamin A used as primary prevention has been shown to reduce all-cause mortality in babies aged
< 6 months,[3, 4] and in infants > 6 months of age.
Low vitamin A was found in 19% - 38% of African refugee children attending RCH immigrant health clinic in the early 2000s (noting many of these children had spent time in refugee camps) [8,9] and 3% of Karen refugee children in a community based sample in Victoria. No cases of xerophthalmia have ever been identified within our service.
< 6 months
6 - 12 months
> 12 months
50,000 IU stat
100,000 IU stat
200,000 IU stat
< 6 months
50,000 IU oral daily for 2 days
100,000 IU oral daily for 2 days
200,000 IU daily for 2 days
Immigrant health resources. Initial: Georgie Paxton and Emma Magrath. Last updated September 2018 Contact: