The National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) under the Health Ministry launched the Micronutrient Day on December 1, with the aim of preventing micronutrient deficiencies.

During the biannual drive on December 1-2, children aging from 6 to 36 months nationwide are provided with free vitamin A capsules for the second time in this year.

The deficiency of micronutrients, including vitamin A, iron, zinc and iodine in mothers and children may lead to an array of health problems, head of the NIN Le Danh Tuyen said at the launching ceremony.

To address this matter, a project on improving nutrition among mothers and children has been implementing in Hai Phong city and Thai Nguyen province in the north, Quang Nam province in the central region and Ca Mau in the south.

The project aims to speed up communication campaigns on nutrition and measures to increase micronutrients in daily diets.

It has to date helped train over 1,000 medical workers on nutrition and provided 700,000 micronutrient powder packs for medical stations in these localities.

In 2013, one in every three under-five kids in the country was stunted, and the deficiency of iron, vitamin A, iodine and zinc was most common.

Vitamins and minerals are needed only in tiny quantities, but their absence can be devastating. Micronutrient deficiencies, however, often have no visible warning signs, causing a ‘hidden hunger’ with far-reaching consequences.-VNA