February 06, 2019

Fighting vitamin A deficiency with orange sweet potatoes

Vitamin A is an essential micronutrient and its deficiency affects immunity. Lack of vitamin A makes children vulnerable to infections, slow recovery from illness, makes it harder to fight common childhood illnesses like measles and diarrhea. Deficiency also increases the risk of death and it is the leading cause of childhood blindness. According to the Kenya National Micronutrient survey, 2011, pre-school children have the highest prevalence of vitamin A deficiency. The Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, which mature in three to four months was noted to be a major source of vitamin A while enhancing food security. This is by Homa Bay Chief Officer of Health, Jenipher Ndege at the training on Sweet potato. Not all children get the supplements, like those who are not breastfeeding and those in rural areas, only 8 in 10 children get the supplements as recommended. Health officials urge people to consume more orange-fleshed sweet potatoes.

While tubers are rich in iron, vitamin A and vitamin C; sweet potato leaves are ready for picking and cooking a mother or two after planting the vines and they can be prepared like the traditional vegetables. With a small tuber, a small child’s daily recommended intake for vitamin A can be met. The leaves are also rich in protein.

Penina Muoki, Agriculture value chain specialist from International Potato Center added that orange-fleshed sweet potatoes cannot only be for breakfast but for various meals. You don’t need to eat sweet potato only when it is boiled!  Read More…