7.5.3  Administering vitamin A supplements safely using a capsule

Giving a child vitamin A using a capsule can be done easily and safely if you follow these steps:

  • Check the age of the child
  • Ask the caregiver if the child has received vitamin A capsule in the last month. If the answer is yes, you do not need to give the child vitamin A at this time
  • If the answer is no, ask the caregiver to hold the child firmly and make sure the child is calm
  • Give the appropriate dose of vitamin A to the child:
    • 100,000 IU to child 6-11 months
    • 200,000 IU to child 12-59 months.
  • Cut the nipple of the capsule at the middle (not at the tip or bottom) with scissors and immediately squeeze the drops of liquid into the child’s mouth (see Figure 7.2)
  • Check if the child is comfortable after swallowing the drops
  • Put all capsules that have been used into a plastic bag
  • Wipe your hands to clean off the drops of oil
  • Record the dose given on the tally sheet.

Important!Do not put the vitamin A capsule into the child’s mouth or allow the child to swallow the capsule.

Do not give a vitamin A capsule if the child has already received a dose within the last month.

Do not give a vitamin A capsule to any woman of reproductive age during an Enhanced Outreach Strategy Programme. A large dose of vitamin A supplements can damage the fetus if the woman is pregnant.

Administering vitamin A capsule to an infant
Figure 7.2  Administering vitamin A capsule to an infant. (Photo: UNICEF/Pirozzi, taken from the Linkages project ‘Nutrition in Ethiopia’, Federal Ministry of Health, 2010)

7.5.2  Estimating vitamin A supplements requirements

7.5.4  Choking after a vitamin A dose