APH 1998, 56, 109-124:

Malnourished children morbidity following vitamin A supplementation or deworming in Democratic Republic of Congo.

Ph. Donnen, M. Dramaix, D. Brasseur, Z. Mweze, M. Mbasha, and Ph. Hennart

Keywords: Democratic Republic of Congo, malnutrition, morbidity, pre-school children, vitamin A, deficiency, vitamin A, supplementation, deworming

A randomized controlled trial was conducted in the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo to assess the impact of high-dose vitamin A supplementation or regular deworming on morbidity of 358 vitamin A deficient and moderately manourished pre-school age children, discharged from hospital. The children in the treatment groups received either vitamin A (200,000 IU, 100,000 IU for children under 12 months) every 6 months, or mebendazole (500mg) every 3 months whereas the children in the control group received no supplementation. At enrolment, anthropometric and clinical data were gathered, faeces were collected and serum retinol concentrations were measured. Morbidity data were collected fortnightly during the first 3 months of follow-up by using a weekly recall method. The three groups had similar socio-demographic indicators, age-sex composition, nutritional status and serum retinol concentrations at baseline. Deficient serum retinol (< 0.35mol/L) was found in 23.2% of the study sample. Median percent time ill for diarrhoea, cough, cough and fever and fever were not significantly different in the three groups and prevalence odds ratios for cough, diarrhoea and fever were not significant. High-dose vitamin A supplementation or deworming did not reduce prevalence of common morbidity in this population of children recovering from malnutrition and with biological signs of vitamin A deficiency.