Micronutrient Grant Program
Vitamin A deficiency is a leading cause of preventable childhood blindness, and a major contributor to illness and death. It is a public health concern across Africa and Southeast Asia, including India. Vitamin A deficiency is further exacerbated by intestinal worms, with round worms, specifically, competing for vitamin A in the intestine. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), India has the world’s most acute parasitic worm problem with at least 241 million children at the risk of intestinal worms.
Vitamin Angels provides access to vitamin A in early childhood (6–59 months) to support healthy immune systems, promote physical growth, prevent blindness, and help mitigate the incidence of measles, which can reduce under-five mortality by up to 24%. Adding Albendazole (deworming tablet), an anti-parasitic medicine, ensures optimal absorption of nutrients, decreases anemia, and improves nutrition.
Through our Micronutrient Grant Program, we donate:
- Vitamin A 100,000 IU for infants aged 6–11 months
- Vitamin A 200,000 IU for children aged 12–59 months
- Albendazole deworming tablet for children aged 12–59 months
We provide in-kind donations to:
- Local, district, and State governments to fill coverage gaps they experience
- FCRA certified NGOs, hospitals and health centers
Our donations are bundled with technical assistance for all service providers to ensure safe and effective administration of vitamin A and Albendazole.
Become a Program Partner
Our approach targets the first 1,000 days of life and children up to five years of age. To become a VA partner in India, organizations must meet the following criteria:
- Must be a locally registered organization in India with a valid Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) — i.e. non-government organizations, clinics, faith-based groups, and government facility/agency, among others.
- Can reach children ages 6–59 months, especially in hard-to-reach areas.
- Must serve individuals who do not have regular access to vitamin A and Albendazole from national health services.
Vitamin Angels is actively seeking new partners in India
Join us in our effort to reduce undernutrition and provide evidence-based nutrition interventions to underserved populations.
Promoting Optimal Maternal, Infant, and Young Child Nutrition (MIYCN)
Proven nutrition interventions in the first 2,000 days of life have the power to help break the intergenerational cycle of poverty, poor health, and adverse wellbeing. Through an implementation science framework, we collaborate with governments and academic institutes to strengthen Maternal, Infant, and Young Child Nutrition (MICYN) systems in India.
We do this by:
- Building MIYCN skills of government health functionaries.
- Implementing social and behavioral change communication towards improving MIYCN practices among vulnerable populations.
- Undertaking State- and national-level policy advocacy to build an enabling environment for MIYCN practices.
- Piloting innovative models to strengthen MIYCN services delivery.
Vitamin Angels is currently providing technical assistance to the Government of Gujarat and the Government of Nagaland to improve MIYCN practices.
The Uphill Climb to Maternal and Child Nutrition in Northeast India
Vitamin Angels India and ORF coauthor an Occasional Paper
Poshan Innovation Platform
Vitamin Angels’ and UNICEF India’s game-changing innovation platform will addresses nutritional inequity across the country. Through this initiative, we are looking for innovations and solutions that leverage technology and cross-sectoral collaborations to address the complex puzzle of undernutrition.
This platofrm will offer innovators sandboxing of their ideas, mentoring by experts, and seed funding by the private sector. The innovation hub will grow into a ‘virtual property’ that continues to fuel and encourage innovations that transform the nutritional status of mothers and under-five children.
Supporting Game-Changing Innovations to Overcome Undernutrition
What is it?
The Poshan Innovation Platform by Vitamin Angels India and UNICEF India will allow new ideas with proof-of-concept to emerge, collaborate, and grow. The initiative will call for innovations from across the country and the region that can potentially transform the nutritional status of mothers and under-five children at population scale.
Alongside evidence-based approaches that have helped address undernutrition in the past, there is a need to look at the problem of ‘ineffective delivery and uptake’ using the lens of:
- Human- centric designs
- Learning from successes in other sectors
There has emerged an innovation ecosystem in the last two decades comprising impact capital (both human and financial), technology (internet penetration and platforms), and awareness (in both people at large and changemakers). There is also an increased appetite for collaborations between governments, civil society, and businesses.
Where is it located?
It is a virtual platform, co-owned by Vitamin Angels India and Unicef India and will be formally launched in 2023.
Vitamin Angels provides technical assistance to its program partners and state governments through a health system strengthening approach. This is achieved through:
Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E)
Vitamin Angels implements a continuous learning approach to support its field partners and service providers. Our technical training material is available in regional languages and is accessible to a wide range of service providers who directly implement the vitamin A and deworming program on-ground. These service providers include medical and paramedical staff, rural medical practitioners, non-government organizations (NGO) workers, and government frontline workers.
This approach is complemented with a toolbox of educational and training resources that provides learning solutions across various contexts. The platform includes in-person, instructor-led training, e-learning, and digital training options, performance support tools, and other digital and printed educational materials.
Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E)
The Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) unit manages rigorous data collection activities that are critical to improving the effectiveness of our programs. We implement three important data collection strategies — reporting, on-site monitoring, and coverage surveys.
To validate the extent to which VA’s mission of reaching the last mile is achieved, each year 20% of returning program partners are randomly selected for on-site monitoring. Caregivers and supervisors are interviewed at each monitoring site to assess if field partners are reaching populations in-need at the last mile.
Vitamin Angels uses an Implementation Research approach to: 1) identify gaps and strengthen ongoing nutrition programs, and 2) facilitate sustainable introduction and scaling up of evidence-based nutrition interventions. Implementation research engages with a range of stakeholders to understand barriers and facilitators for achieving the desired impact of nutrition interventions.
Nagaland Coverage Evaluation Study
Vitamin Angels’ association with the State of Nagaland began in 2011 through partnerships with local non-government organizations (NGOs). In 2016, VA began supporting the Government of Nagaland to help bridge coverage gaps in vitamin A supplementation and deworming (VAS+D) for under-five children.
In 2018, VA commissioned a third-party evaluation by Evidence Action India to determine the programmatic impact of VA’s work in reaching malnourished populations through multisectoral partnerships. The survey was conducted in 30 villages across four randomly selected districts (Mokokchung, Wokha, Kiphire, and Peren), as per the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Coverage Evaluation Survey Guidelines.
VA found that collaborating with civil society organizations (CSO) and the government led to improved coverage of EBNIs and removed barriers preventing people from taking health services.
The survey reported a State coverage of:
- 77.2% for vitamin A supplementation (28.1% from VA’s CSO partners, 70.2% from the government)
- 74.2% for deworming
Based on the Lives Saved Tool (LiST) modeling , increasing VAS coverage through the CSO platform averted an estimated 114 stunting cases, 25,017 diarrhea cases, and saved nine lives.
Further, the study recorded 68% VAS coverage in Kiphire, a hard-to-reach aspirational district, of which 99% of the supply came through VA donations to the State government and CSOs. This collaborative approach targeting prioritized districts assisted in reaching more children, and, in turn, reduced disparities in access to nutrition interventions.