The National Campaign to tackle Vitamin A deficiency among children in the age group of 6 to 60 months began in the district on Thursday.

Deputy Director of Health Services R. Damodharan told The Hindu that 31,900 children or 11.50 per cent of the total targeted 2.75 lakh children identified in the district were covered on Day One. Of the children covered so far, 16,567 were male and 15,333 female.

With 20 per cent of the district’s population residing in high-risk areas such as urban slums, border districts and migrant settlements, he said that focus would be on covering them through an intensive campaign on day two and three.

Special emphasis would be placed on covering the tribal population in the hilly areas of Valparai. The drive would proceed till March 31 through a door-to-door campaign to cover all the children.

Elaborating on the reasons for low coverage on Day One, he said that they were being very cautious to ensure no children were administered a double dose, which could cause ‘hyper-vitaminosis.’ As such, this campaign was not targeting tourists and travellers and no static or mobile booth had been deployed.

“We are deploying our resources cautiously this time as this is mainly a preventive programme to tackle visual impairment and blindness. Further, holding the campaign on a week day has also reduced the turnout.”

Unlike the pulse polio campaign where several departments were roped in, Dr. Damodharan said that the Vitamin A campaign was being implemented only by the Department of Public Health and the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) personnel.

Of the total enumerated population of 32.56 lakh in Coimbatore, 2.75 lakh were identified in the age group of 6 to 60 months. Of these, 1.41 lakh were male and 1.34 female.

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