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Clustering of vitamin A deficiency in children

This question was posted the Micronutrients forum area and has 3 replies.

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Mary Oyunga

Senior Research Officer/ KALRO

Normal user

14 Apr 2016, 08:30

Studies have shown that the occurrence of vitamin A deficiency is clustered and not evenly distributed in communities. How can this clustering be determined given that the conditions under which it occurs is very dynamic?

Anonymous 577

Normal user

16 Apr 2016, 17:10

Hello Mary,
at the risk of not having understood your question: wouldn't a cross-sectional survey do i.e assuming you want to detect clustering? You'd assess for the deficiency using clinical signs (xerophthalmia) and or/other biomarkers say serum retinol. From the literature, your survey subjects would be children in this case.
This sounds too simplistic, though and you may be inquiring about something else: ifso, please clarify what your question.

Mary Oyunga

Senior Research Officer/ KALRO

Normal user

17 Apr 2016, 11:48

The question was as simple as it was....just clustering. Studies by FAO have shown that the occurrence of forms of VAD are usually clustered and not evenly distributed in a population. This may mean that there are epidemiological traits that cause this clustering. Given that the traits may be very dynamic too (keeps changing), how then can these traits which I believe are the risk factors be determined?

Andrew Seal

UCL and NIE Regional Training Initiative

Technical expert

19 Apr 2016, 12:34

Hello Mary

If I have understood the question correctly think the only way to answer it would be to construct your hypothesis regarding the potential risk factors and then do a series of different aetiological studies in the locations of interest; including longitudinal cohort studies.

However, donor would be unlikely to put money in to such studies as the causes are thought to be well established and it might be better spent doing operational research to improve the capsule distribution system, and WASH and FSL interventions.

I hope that addresses your question adequately?

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