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Pediatrics. 2008 Jul;122(1):e242-50. doi: 10.1542/peds.2007-3448.

Newborn vitamin A supplementation reduced infant mortality in rural Bangladesh.

Author information

  • 1DrPH, Johns Hopkins University, Center for Human Nutrition, Department of International Health, Bloomberg School of Public Health, 615 North Wolfe St, Baltimore, MD 21205. rklemm@jhsph.edu.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

We assessed the effect of supplementing newborns with 50000 IU of vitamin A on all-cause infant mortality through 24 weeks of age.

PATIENTS AND METHODS:

This was a community-based, double-masked, cluster-randomized, placebo-controlled trial conducted in 19 unions in rural northwest Bangladesh. The study was nested into and balanced across treatment arms of an ongoing placebo-controlled, weekly maternal vitamin A or beta-carotene supplementation trial. Study-defined sectors (N = 596) were evenly randomized for newborns of participating mothers to receive a single, oral supplement of vitamin A (50000 IU) or placebo as droplets of oil squeezed from a gelatinous capsule. Mothers provided informed consent for newborn participation at approximately 28 weeks' gestation. After birth, typically at home (where >90% of births occurred), infants were supplemented and their vital status was followed through 24 weeks of age. The main outcome measure was mortality through 24 weeks of age.

RESULTS:

We obtained maternal consent to dose 17116 live-born infants (99.8% of all eligible) among whom 15937 (93.1%) were visited to be supplemented <30 days after birth and for whom vital status at 24 weeks of age was known. Dosed infants (n = 15902 [99.8%]) received their study supplement at a median age of 7 hours. Relative to control subjects, the risk of death in vitamin A-supplemented infants was 0.85, reflecting a 15% reduction in all-cause mortality. Protective relative risks were indistinguishable by infant gender, gestational age, birth weight, age at dosing, maternal age, parity, or across the 3 treatment arms of the maternal supplementation trial.

CONCLUSIONS:

Newborn vitamin A dosing improved infant survival through the first 6 months of life in Bangladesh. These results corroborate previous findings from studies in Indonesia and India and provide additional evidence that vitamin A supplementation shortly after birth can reduce infant mortality in South Asia.

PMID:
18595969
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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