Vitamin A deficiency status in Tigray Region, Ethiopia, 1996


  • Jemal Haidar
  • Tsegaye Demisse
  • H/Michael G/Sillasie
  • Habtamu Fufa
  • Eskinder Biratu
  • Hana Nekatibeb


Abstract: A survey was conducted to determine the prevalence of xerophthalmia in Alaje and Samre weredas of Tigray Region, Northern Ethiopia, where EPI-plus and Wereda Integrated Basic Service (WIBS) approaches are being launched to prevent and control vitamin A deficiency. A total of 5,253 preschool children (PSC) were clinically examined between October and November, 1996 for ocular signs of xerophthalmia. Blood samples were drawn from 248 PSC for serum retinol levels(SRL). The overall prevalence rates of night blindness (XN) and Bitot's spot (X B) for both weredas were 1 0.9% and 1.5%, respectively, with a higher prevalence rate in males than females (53 vs 26). Alaje wereda(EPI-plus) had XN=21(0.8%) and X B=38(1.4%), and Samre wereda (WIBS) had 1 XN=25(1.0%) and X B=41(1.7%). No sex difference was seen in the prevalence rate of corneal 1 xerosis and keratomalacia (0.4%). The most affected age groups were children between five and six years of age. Both weredas showed the distribution of serum retinol levels to be deficient in 21(16.7%) in Samre and 19(15.5%) in Alaje, and low in 60(47.6%) in Samre and 57(46.7%) in Alaje. Low SRL is found to be highest among children between five and six years of age in males and between two to three years of age in females in both weredas. The high prevalence rate of X B 1 (three times higher than the WHO cut-off point), and the low level of serum retinol value found in this study indicates the need and urgency for the continuation of the aforementioned strategies of vitamin A deficiency control program launched in the Region until their impact is further evaluated. [Ethiop. J. Health Dev. 1999;13(2):87-91]



How to Cite

Haidar, J., Demisse, T., G/Sillasie, H., Fufa, H., Biratu, E., & Nekatibeb, H. (2017). Vitamin A deficiency status in Tigray Region, Ethiopia, 1996. The Ethiopian Journal of Health Development, 13(2). Retrieved from

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