Vitamin A is essential for the functioning of the human immune system. In industrialized countries, foods like flour or sugar have been fortified with it for decades. But it’s not the same picture in some developing countries, where children with Vitamin A deficiency still run the risk of dying from common childhood illnesses like measles. The cost of ensuring all children receive enough Vitamin A is peanuts: capsules cost just two cents each – but improve children’s chances of survival by as much as 25 per cent. This episode of ‘Life’ looks at the prospects for two very different Vitamin A distribution programmes in Ghana and Guatemala, and asks whether the best way to ensure all children have access to the nutrients that can help them lead healthy, fulfilled lives isn’t new, genetically-modified crops – like the experimental Vitamin-A modified ‘golden rice’ currently being developed in Professor Ingo Potrykus’ lab in Switzerland, as part of an initiative supported by the Rockefeller Foundation.
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