Vitamin Angels Road Trip - Louisiana

The below blog was written by Domestic Program Manager, Ann Micka, during a recent trip to Louisiana with Senior Program Manager, Amy Steets, to visit current and prospective field partners that are distributing our multivitamins.

Hey y’all,

Greetings from the great (and humid) state of Louisiana!  Amy and I are having a wonderful time traveling around LA visiting some of our domestic field partners. In the past two days, we’ve driven 492 miles and have one more pregnancy resource center in New Orleans to visit!

Our first stop was at Life Choices of North Central Louisiana in Ruston.  We met with one of the nurses on staff, who said that her clients LOVE our prenatal multivitamins. She lit up when she spoke about the multivitamins and really emphasized how good her patients feel when taking them.

Our second stop was at the Food Bank of Northwest Louisiana in Shreveport, where we visited with Steve Paeth, the Operations Manager. The food bank really appreciates the opportunity to offer our multivitamins to their agency partners, since multivitamins are not a commodity that they typically receive as a donation. 

Our third stop was at the Women’s Resource Group in Natchitoches. The Executive Director, Becky Stewart, was grateful to be able to provide prenatal multivitamins to their clients. She wanted us, and our donors, to know that the multivitamins are making a big difference in the lives of many underserved women in rural Louisiana. 

It's been a great trip so far!


posted in Multivitamins

Photo Update - Malawi

Vitamin Angels' Program Managers Eva and Austen recently visited some of our field partners in Malawi to offer technical materials and capacity building courses to the heath care workers who distribute our vitamins in the field, ensuring they are proficient with international best practices.

Sarah (shown in first photo) participated in the vitamin A supplementation (VAS) course and brought along her daughter, Anabel. Even though Sarah was taking care of her daughter throughout the entire eight-hour training, she was the first trainee of the group to grasp the concepts. She performed the skills perfectly her first time, even with her baby in hand. We are excited to welcome a new group of trained vitamin administrators to our field partner network.


posted in Africa

Photo Update - Leonarda’s Home of Hope in Honduras

In 2012, we worked with Stop Hunger Now to deliver vitamin A for 500 children, multivitamins for 789 children and 186 mothers to Leonarda’s Home of Hope in Honduras. Check out some of the photos of the children and mothers on the receiving end!


Photos courtesy of: Peggy Hook


posted in children's multivitamins | Children’s health | Honduras | Multivitamins | Child health

Photo Update - Mayan Families

In 2012, our field partners at Mayan Families in Guatemala they received their second vitamin grant from Vitamin Angels of vitamin A for 500 children under age five as well as daily multivitamins for 280 pregnant women and new mothers. 

Last month, our Programs team visited the project to train health care workers on distribution best practices and upon further discussion, the group realized they could reach even more children in their community with vitamin A and will soon receive another grant to reach an additional 1,000 children this year along with multivitamins.



Photos courtesy of: Mayan Families


posted in children's multivitamins | Multivitamins | Child health

Photo Update - Cambodian Child's Dream Organization

We just received these photos from our field partners in Cambodia. Late last year, they received their first grant from Vitamin Angels and this year they have received almost 600,000 children's multivitamins and over 300,000 multivitamins for pregnant women and new mothers. We can't wait to see what the future holds for our partnership.

Photos courtesy of: Cambodian Child’s Dream Organization


posted in children's multivitamins | Multivitamins | Child health

Empowering Cameroonians to Combat Micronutrient Malnutrition

Vitamin Angels Cameroon

This blog entry was written by Austen Musso, Program Manager for Vitamin Angels.

After 4 days of travel, we arrived in the rural village of Esu in the Northwest Region of Cameroon. Though over 40,000 people living in the lush hilly community of Esu, there is only one small primary government health facility. In 2007, the Cameroon Christian Welfare Foundation (CAMWEF) opened up the only private health care clinic in the community to help fill the need for quality, low cost health care services.Vitamin Angels Cameroon

Now with the support of Vitamin Angels, CAMCWEF can provide free vitamin A supplements, Albendazole and multivitamins to children under five, while pregnant and breastfeeding mothers receive specially formulated multivitamins. Vitamin Angels’ Technical Specialist, Eva Haase, and I visited CAMCWEF in Cameroon because Vitamin Angels seeks to empower indigenous NGOs to combat micronutrient deficiency in their communities. We do this not only by providing them with micronutrient supplements, but also by offering technical materials and capacity building courses so all grantee organizations can distribute vitamins in the field according to international best practices.

In 2013, Vitamin Angels will be making micronutrient grants to at least five Cameroonian NGOs-- reaching over 150,000 children between 6-59 months of age in areas not targeted by government health services. The government currently lacks the resources and coordination to reach the full population in many communities; consequently, 36% of children under five suffer from vitamin A deficiency (the under five mortality rate was 136 per 1,000 live births in 2010). The five NGOs Vitamin Angels is working with play a vital role in distributing micronutrient supplements to communities with the most need.

In preparation for many of the micronutrient distributions in 2013, Eva and I traveled to Esu to host two 8-hour courses on vitamin A supplementation for health service providers from our five current grantee organizations in Cameroon. Participants traveled to Esu from all corners of Cameroon to attend these day-long courses, including two representatives from CAMFODA who traveled over 40 hours by bus each way from their office in the Far North Region of Cameroon.

Even with limited power, no running water, and no internet, a total of 27 field partner representatives received hands-on, practical instruction on vitamin A supplementation and distribution during our week in Cameroon. The Vitamin Angels’ learning course also provided these participants with step-by-step instructions and the opportunity to participate in practical distribution simulations.  I was very impressed by all five organizations, which were represented at these courses. I am confident that representatives from each organization will continue to share what they have learned with their fellow health providers to help ensure the success of future vitamin A distributions in Cameroon. 

Together with local grass roots organizations like CAMWEF, Vitamin Angels continues to help at-risk populations, like those we met in Cameroon, gain access to lifesaving vitamin A.

**A special thank you to Mr. Nji Chi Polycarp of CAMCWEF and Aliu Umaru of Aids Free Africa for their assistance in making this visit to Cameroon a great success.

Vitamin Angels CameroonVitamin Angels Cameroon Vitamin Angels Cameroon


posted in Cameroon | Vitamin Angels | Staff

Photo Update - Clinica Esperanza in Honduras

We've been working with Clinica Esperanza in Honduras since 2010. Through our partnership we are reaching over 2,500 chilldren with multivitamins.

Vitamin Angels Honduras

Photos courtesy of Clinica Esperanza.


posted in children under five | children's multivitamins | Honduras | not for profit organization | Vitamin Angels | Multivitamins | Child health

Judith's Story - Haiti

This story was submitted by our partners at the Hospital Albert Schweitzer in Haiti where they are reaching pregnant women and new mothers with daily multivitamins.

"Judith lives with her husband and four children in Verrettes, about 15 minutes by car from her local dispensary health clinic run by Hôpital Albert Schweitzer (HAS) Haiti. She is expecting her fifth child in August 2013. They are a busy family: Judith sells rice in the local market, while her husband is a fruit and vegetable farmer; with their income, they are working to put their children, who range from ages nine to seventeen, through school – a real investment in the future.

She is also investing in health. Like all pregnant women in HAS’ service area, Judith comes to the clinic at least once per trimester of her pregnancy to ensure that everything is going well and that she is healthy. On the months that she does not have a consultation, she still returns faithfully to get her prenatal vitamins. Women in the Artibonite Valley have many demands on their time and energy, including food production and preparation, going to market twice a week, and caring for children and other family members. It can be a struggle for them to ensure that they consume enough of the required nutrients to maintain top health during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Thanks to a donation from Vitamin Angels, HAS is able to provide the vitamins free of charge to all pregnant and lactating women, increasing the micronutrient status of women and newborns in the hospital’s service area.

For Judith, this means that pregnancy is less stressful: “These vitamins will help me and my baby stay healthy, and I don’t have to worry about how I can afford it,” says Judith with a smile. She knows that, like her children’s education, investing in the health of her family is crucial to all of their future successes."

Vitamin Angels HaitiVitamin Angels Haiti

Photos and story courtesy of Angel Hertslet.


posted in Haiti | not for profit organization | prenatals | Vitamin Angels | Maternal health | Maternal and Child Health

A Dramatic Shift of Global Child Demographics

Imagine this: By the middle of the 21st century, almost one in every three births and nearly one in every three children younger than 18 years old will be in sub-Saharan Africa. Demographic shifts in the next few decades are likely to fundamentally alter where the world’s children are born and live, and which regions will be in most need of essential services.

A recent Lancet article, The Changing Face of Global Child Demographics, highlighted these intriguing findings from UNICEF. Other key findings that have important implications for policy makers and planners include:  

  • - A sharp fall in China’s child population is projected.
  • - India’s child population—the world’s largest national cohort of under-18s—is projected to remain stable until 2025 and subsequently decrease.
  • -The child population will continue to increase in the USA, which is the only high-income country that will have such a rise.
  • - Nigeria’s child population is set to increase by 31 million between 2010 and 2025.

These facts provoke some important questions:

  • -Is the world ready for the projected increase in sub-Saharan Africa’s child population of 130 million—roughly the size of Japan’s population, which is presently the world’s tenth most populous country—by 2025? 
  • - Are African governments and international donors and agencies prepared?
  • - And what must be done to ensure that the 2 billion children set to be born between 2010 and 2025—who, on the basis of present trends, will mostly be born in the poorest districts, communities, and families of every region—get an equal chance to survive, develop, and reach their full potential?

The authors emphasized four points for immediate consideration in global efforts to foster equitable development for children in the 21st century:

  • 1. First, governments and donors must recognize that alteration of demographic trends will require corresponding changes in policies, programming, and investments in children. With the global population set to reach 8 billion in 2025, understanding of where children will be born, survive, and live will be crucial for the formulation of solutions that can impel equitable and sustainable human progress, and to ensure that these solutions are adequately resourced. The incorporation of projected demographic changes into development planning is part of a shift towards a more strategic approach to development, encompassing these and other leading indicators of change.
  • 2. Second, child survival efforts must become even more firmly focused on sub-Saharan Africa, on populous low income and middle-income countries where many children younger than 5 years are dying, on fragile states, on the least developed nations, and on the poorest and most geographically isolated households worldwide. The statistical evidence overwhelmingly shows that these populations have the highest burden of child deaths, and are most likely to have the highest share of births and most rapid growth in child numbers. A disproportionate number of children in these populations are still suffering or dying from diseases that are easily preventable in wealthier and more mainstream regions where quality services can be accessed.
  • 3. Third, planning for education, nutrition, health, water, sanitation and hygiene, and protection services must take full account of the projected child demographic shifts. 4. And, finally, the substantial global increase in elderly dependents means that essential resources might be taken away from services for children and mothers by governments facing ever greater demands from elderly populations. With children unable to vote in most countries, their advocates and policy makers must take steps to guarantee that they do not lose out in a rapidly changing, more populous, and rapidly ageing world.


posted in Child health

Photo Updates from the Field: AmeriCares Bangladesh

Photo Updates from the Field: AmeriCares Bangladesh


Our partner, AmeriCares, has delivered vitamin A safely and effectively to reach patients in need in Bangladesh. Last year we provided AmeriCares with 31,000 doses of 200,000 IU and 10,000 doses of 100,000 IU vitamin A for distribution to Bangladesh health care institutions.  The direct distribution to hospitals is overseen by AmeriCares in-country health care partner, the International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR,B), which is based in the capital of Dhaka. Leading sources on child health and nutrition, UNICEF and WHO, estimate that 28% of children under five are vitamin A deficient in Bangladesh.


Photos courtesy of ICDDR,B


posted in children under five

Vitamin Angels in the Field: Trainings in Malawi

This blog was written by Eva Haase, Vitamin Angels’ Programs Technical Specialist.

Amy Steets, Senior Program Manager, and I recently returned from 10 days in Southern Malawi where we led 3 vitamin A learning workshops for 22 field partners, 20 of who will begin vitamin A distributions for the first time this month. In all, 52 field partner representatives were given hands-on, practical instruction on vitamin A supplementation and distribution. Vitamin Angels’ learning workshops also provide participants with step-by-step instruction and the opportunity to view standardized service delivery demonstrations and to participate in practical distribution simulations. After an intensive small group simulation, each participant was evaluated for competency based on his/her individual performance of the skills. I am overjoyed to report that all participants passed with flying colors and were promptly awarded Certificates of Competency!  

Our field partners in Malawi exemplify grassroots organizations taking ownership of the problem of vitamin A deficiency (VAD) in a country where more than half (53%) of children under age 5 suffer from VAD. Stunting, a recognized proxy indicator of chronic undernutrition, affects almost 48% of children under age 5 in Malawi.  Our field partners in Malawi are comprised of both community-based organizations and international aid organizations. The majority of participants were committed volunteers from the communities they serve, others were career humanitarian aid workers, and all had a tangible passion for reducing child undernutrition, morbidity, and mortality. Their work is intrinsic to providing targeted and sustainable health and nutrition programming. They work in complement to and often closely with national level health services to accurately track the number of children reached with routine vitamin A supplementation and other health services annually.   

Our interactive learning workshops ensure that VA’s field partners are current on VAS best practices. Equally important, workshops provide participants with the technical background and practical skills they need to plan, facilitate, deliver, and monitor an effective vitamin A distribution. My personal joy in knowing that Vitamin Angels is providing a simple, lifesaving health intervention for children in need is renewed every time I am blessed to work with our global network of exemplary field partner representatives.








posted in Africa | Children’s health | operation 2020 | Vitamin A Deficiency | Operation 20/20 | Vitamin A

New Video: Our Impact in Kenya

Check out our new video about the impact our prenatal vitamins are having on the lives of mothers and their babies in Kenya. The women have told us that they are no longer craving soil (a sign of vitamin and mineral deficiency), their appetites have increased, and their babies are being born healthy. 


posted in Africa | Vitamin Angels | Maternal health

A Favorite Day in Kenya

Vitamin Angels’ Board Chair, Michelle Goolsby, traveled to Western Kenya earlier this year to meet the women and children benefitting from our project there as well as to observe distributions of prenatal vitamins coordinated by our in-country partners, Global Network.

The staff of Nasewa Health Center in Western Kenya sees 80 to 100 expectant mothers per month and provides medical care for infants and children under 5. The Center works with mothers to help educate them on various ways to improve their health and that of their families, including providing them with information on the prevention of malaria, the importance of deworming, the importance of prenatal vitamins, and options for family planning. The women walk from miles around to visit the Center.

Through Vitamin Angels’ partners at Global Network, the Center distributes prenatal vitamins, monitors the pregnancy of the expectant mothers, monitors the babies born and tracks their statistics, immunizations and general health. We were able to speak with a very experienced and knowledgeable nurse, Sylvester Matiani, who has been working at the Center for the last 3 years. Sylvester reports that after the Center began receiving prenatal vitamins from Vitamin Angels two years ago, anemia in mothers has declined significantly, there are fewer premature babies, and fewer babies are born with deformities. Emma Achieng, who works for Global Network and is currently conducting research in the region, tells us the mothers were initially reluctant and didn’t understand the benefits of taking prenatal vitamins, however having seen the positive impact the vitamins have made, the women are now enthusiastically spreading the word and encouraging other expectant mothers to take them. 

After our meeting with the Center staff, we were ushered outside and met by an excited crowd of mothers and children from 18 surrounding local villages, along with the village chief, assistant chiefs, and several village elders. We had the chance to hear story after story of mothers from these villages who had been given prenatal vitamins. All of them told us they felt stronger, their children were healthier and their breast milk was plentiful as a result. I was able to speak at length with an expectant mother, Jacinto Awino, a 28-year-old from Husiera. Jacinto and her husband are both contract laborers who work in the shamba (garden). When she speaks of her children, Jacinto says she prays they grow up healthy, have jobs, and can take good care of themselves. She adds with a smile that she also hopes we will visit frequently and continue to give them prenatal vitamins. 

As Jacinto and I were finishing our conversation, an older woman ran up and urgently grabbed me by the hand and began pulling me toward the hospital, all the while yelling at me in Swahili, which I, of course, didn’t understand. Inside, on the delivery table, was one of the women who had come to talk with us; she had gone into labor, and given birth to a healthy baby girl just seconds before. This older woman insisted I stand there with this exhausted mother and her newborn as the baby girl took her first breaths and cried her first cries. I stood in wonder at the miracle of life, feeling somewhat awkward and intrusive, but clearly not expected or even allowed to leave. The older woman was completely delighted with herself and found it hilarious that a mzungu (white person) would be the third person to welcome this new baby into the world.

What a day!


posted in prenatals | Thrive to Five | Vitamin Angels | Multivitamins | Maternal health

We work fast!

At Vitamin Angels, we pride ourselves on working with qualified partners to reach at-risk children and mothers around the world. Doing so with great efficiency means those who need our vitamins most get them sooner and start realizing the benefits faster. Check out this turn around as summarized by our partners at the Chad Relief Foundation (CRF).

Friday, August 10, 2012

4:39 am – CRF doctor in Goré, Chad contacts headquarters to request supplements for pregnant and lactating women in the five Goré and Maro camps.
2:50 pm –CRF team asks Vitamin Angels if they can provide these supplements.
3:47 pm - VA offers prenatal multivitamins.
4:24 pm – CRF accepts offer.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

8:22 am – VA sends details for shipment of 11,880 doses of multivitamins.
4:06 pm - VA reports to CRF that the materials are on their way to Chad.

Total elapsed time (excluding weekend) from request to shipment:
2 days, 11 hours, 33 minutes.


posted in Thrive to Five | Vitamin Angels | Multivitamins

Partners new and old

Vitamin Angels has a new field partner in Honduras, Bridgeway Church, thanks to an existing corporate partner, Vitamin World. Jennifer Hernandez, Regional Trainer for the Southeast region of Vitamin World learned of the need in Honduras through her church and reached out to Vitamin Angels for help. We were pleased to learn more about this qualified group and recently supplied 4,000 doses of vitamin A, 3,500 doses of Albendazole (de-worming) and over 130,000 doses of women’s prenatal vitamins to Bridgeway Church. Jennifer sent back these pictures from the first distribution.

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All photos courtesy, Vitamin World.


posted in Operation 20/20 | Thrive to Five | Vitamin A | Multivitamins

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