The coverage of Vitamin A Supplementation (VAS) in children 6-59 months through the Maternal New-bornand Child health Weeks has increased from 26% in 2008 to 47% in 2015.There is concern that the most vulnerable children with the largest capacity benefit are amongst the 53% of child not being reached. The objective of this analysis was to determine the equity of VAS programme coverage.
Data from Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) in 2008 and 2013 were analysed to assess inequities in vitamin A supplementation coverage.
In 2013 VAS coverage in the North-West regionthe region with the highest prevalence of povertywas only 26%, compared with 65% in the South-South region, where the prevalence of household poverty is 65 percentage points lower. In 2008 there was 31 percentage points difference in the coverage between the lowest and highest wealth quintiles, this difference increased to 46% by 2013. In 2013 only 21% of children in the lowest wealth quintile were reached compared to 67% in the richest quintile. Between 2008 and 2013 coverage increased from 13% to 21% for child in lowest wealth quintile while coverage increased from 44% to 67% for children in the richest quintiles.
While Nigeria has experienced some success in increasing Vitamin A coverage, the gains have been regressive, resulting in greater inequity with children from the vulnerable poorest families not experiencing the gains of wealthier families. Equity needs to be placed at the heart of the programme to ensure those most in need are reached.