CarrotAid.org


Carrot Aid

info@carrotaid.org

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Gulerødder mod A-vitamin mangel

[English text below]

A-vitaminmangel er et stort problem i forbindelse med folkesundheden i mere end halvdelen af verdens lande, særligt i Afrika og i Sydøstasien. Som sædvanlig rammer det først og fremmest små børn og gravide kvinder i lavindkomstlandene. WHO vurderer at 190 mio. børn under 5 år formentlig lider af A-vitamin mangel.

Det er afgørende for gravide kvinder og børns overlevelse at modtage tilstrækkelige forsyninger af A-vitaminer. I højrisiko-områderne kan det reducere dødligheden betydeligt.

A-vitamin mangel er hovedårsagen til den type af blindhed hos børn, som faktisk kan forhindres. WHO vurderer, at hvert år bliver mellem 400 000 og 600 000 børn med  A-vitamin mangel blinde, og at halvdelen af dem dør indenfor tolv måneder efter de har mistet synet.

A-vitaminer styrker immunforsvarssystemet, så organismen bedre kan modstå infektionssygdomme, her er især diarré særdeles livstruende.

Hos gravide kvinder i højrisikoområderne indtræffer A-vitaminmangel især i den sidste trediedel af graviditeten, hvor ernærings kravene til både det ufødte barn og moderen er størst. Dette forårsager natteblindhed hos moderen og kan øge risikoen for alvorlige sygdomme og  moderskabsdødelighed.

A-vitamintilskud er blevet betegnet af Verdens Sundheds Organisationen (WHO) som det mest kosteffektive sundhedsindgreb, fordi det redder millioner af liv hvert eneste år. Og det er, hvad Gulerodsprojektet også handler om!

 

 

Carrots for combating vitamin A deficiency

Ca. 1% of children in Ethiopia suffer from vitamin-A deficiency and up to 6-8 million pre-school children are at risk, causing in extreme cases night-blindness, stunting, lethargy and raised levels of morbidity, which in turn exacerbate poverty and vulnerability. The widespread introduction of vitamin-A supplements to address this deficiency faces huge logistical barriers of reaching large numbers of people in remote areas, together with the requirement of large and continuous supplies of funding to achieve this. A possible alternative is therefore to encourage the cultivation of vitamin-A rich crops, such as the carrot, by the target population, the majority of whom are already engaged in small-scale mixed subsistence and cash-crop cultivation. The value of carrots as an important source of vitamin A is not well exploited in the country due to lack of awareness among the majority of the Ethiopian rural population.

Currently only two varieties of carrot (Nantes and Chantenay) are being commercially cultivated in Ethiopia, and both are unable to produce viable seed within a single cultivation season. Carrot cultivation in Ethiopia is therefore currently dependent on the continuous import of seed, both to the country and to rural communities, with the result that such cultivation can only be sustained through an ongoing availability of funding and seed availability. In practice this means that carrots are effectively only being grown as a cash-crop for the urban elite by farmers with sufficient resources to purchase seeds.

Alternative varieties of carrot are therefore required which are able to produce seed in a single cultivation season under Ethiopian eco-climatic conditions, thereby allowing farmers to both grow their own seed for future seasons, but also to allow them to trade/donate excess seed to other farmers, thereby ensuring the potential spread of such seeds throughout the country.