Self-Assessment Questions (SAQs) for Study Session 7

Now that you have completed this study session, you can assess how well you have achieved its Learning Outcomes by answering the questions below. Write your answers in your Study Diary and discuss them with your Tutor at the next Study Support Meeting. You can check your answers with the Notes on the Self-Assessment Questions at the end of this Module.

SAQ 7.1 (tests Learning Outcomes 7.1 and 7.2)

How does vitamin A deficiency impact on the health of children in Ethiopia?


Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) results in a child’s immune system being severely weakened. This means illness is more common and likely to be more severe, and leads to an increase under-five death rates. VAD can also lead to eye damage; if lesions on the eye are severe, this can cause blindness.

SAQ 7.2 (tests Learning Outcome 7.3)

Who are the individuals most vulnerable to vitamin A deficiency, iodine deficiency disorder and iron deficiency anaemia in your community?


The most vulnerable group affected by micronutrient deficiencies, in any community, are frequently children and lactating mothers. This is certainly the case in relation to VAD. However, for iodine deficiency disorder (IDD), people of all ages and sexes are vulnerable, but this deficiency is more critical for the fetus, young children, pregnant women and lactating mothers. In case of iron deficiency anaemia (IDA), vulnerable individuals include low birth weight infants, children aged 6–24 months, adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women, and people living with HIV and AIDS.

SAQ 7.3 (tests Learning Outcomes 7.4, 7.5 and 7.6)

What are the consequences of iodine deficiency disorder and iron deficiency anaemia for children and women in Ethiopia?


The consequences of IDD are summarised in the table below

In pregnant women, fetuses and newbornsIn infants, children and adolescentsIn adults
• Decreased fertility• Hypothyroidism• Goitre and its complications
• Spontaneous abortion• Impaired coordination• Hypothyroidism
• Stillbirths, congenital abnormalities• Impaired mental function• Impaired mental function
• Neonatal mortality• IQ 13 points lower• Lower energy and productivity
• Cretinism• Retarded mental and physical development
• Psychomotor defects• Diminished school performance

Iron deficiency anaemia affects more than half of children under the age of five and around 27% of women in Ethiopia so it is a serious issue. The consequences of IDA are possible increased risk of maternal mortality, premature birth to low birth weight, and infant mortality. It also impacts of children’s capacity to learn and adult productivity.

SAQ 7.4 (tests Learning Outcome 7.7)

Imagine you have identified people in your community who are suffering from vitamin A deficiency, iodine deficiency disorder and iron deficiency anaemia. What can you do to address these problems?


There are a range of actions you can take as a Health Extension Practitioner to prevent and treat micronutrient deficiencies in your community. For example you can provide Vitamin A capsules, iodine capsules and iron folate for prevention of VAD, IDD and IDA respectively. You can work with individuals and families and advise on food diversification and food fortification, which will help to ensure a more healthy diet.

The other important aspect of your role is to mobilise communities and work with other development workers in your community to produce of fruit and vegetables using backyard gardens, which will help to improve access to vitamin A-rich foods. You can also support community child health days and use these to ensure a supply of vitamin A capsules and the other necessary materials to supplement people’s diets.

Summary of Study Session 7