Shifts in Social Determinants of Vitamin A Supplementation Among Children Under Five in Kenya, 2003–2014

Petronella Ahenda, David J. Washburn, Brian Colwell, Shinduk Lee, Ibrahim Gwarzo, Debra K. Kellstedt, Jay E. Maddock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: In Africa and Asia, 190 million preschoolers are vitamin A deficient. This study examined the social determinants of intake of vitamin A supplementation (VAS) among children aged 6–59 months during three different time periods in Kenya to identify those most vulnerable to vitamin A deficiency and highlight the varied targeting and outreach efforts; before the onset of a national restructuring and targeted distribution of VAS in children below 5 years through a twice-yearly door-to-door campaign called Child Health Weeks, during the implementation period, and several years later. Methods: The cross-sectional, national Demographic and Health Surveys were administered in Kenya in 2003, 2008-09, and 2014. Bivariate and multivariable logistic regression analyses were used to assess variables associated with VAS among children (n = 28,239). Results: An overall two-fold increase in VAS was recorded between 2003 (31.8%) and 2014 (67.5%). In 2008-09, children aged 6–11 months were the most likely to receive VAS. In 2003 and 2014, geographical regions and settings, birth order of the child, educational level of the mother, religion, wealth index, number of antenatal visits, and access to a radio were identified as being significantly associated with VAS, in at least one of the years. These determinants were not significant in 2008-09 during the initial Child Health Weeks promotion campaign. The determinants of VAS varied during the three study periods, particularly in 2008-09 when the Child Health Weeks was first implemented. Conclusion: As efforts to increase VAS continue, addressing child-specific determinants will be essential to reduce health disparities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1284-1292
Number of pages9
JournalMaternal and Child Health Journal
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2023


  • Child Health Weeks
  • Kenya
  • Social determinants
  • Targeted promotion campaigns
  • Vitamin A supplementation
  • Vitamin A Deficiency/epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Kenya/epidemiology
  • Infant
  • Pregnancy
  • Vitamin A
  • Social Determinants of Health
  • Female
  • Dietary Supplements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Epidemiology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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