7.7.1  Zinc deficiency and the Millennium Development Goals

Zinc intervention programmes can help to achieve three of the four health-related MDGs:

  • MDG 4: Reduce child mortality — zinc deficiency contributes substantially to diarrhoea and pneumonia, which are the most common causes of death among children in developing countries. Therefore, interventions to enhance the zinc intake of children in low-income countries are a useful strategy to reducing child mortality rates
  • MDG 5: Reduce maternal mortality — zinc deficiency can result in protracted labour, which increases maternal mortality rates and adversely affects the fetus. Therefore, improving the zinc intake of women before and during pregnancy may help to reduce maternal mortality and benefit infant growth and survival
  • MDG 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases — there is evidence that zinc supplementation may reduce the severity of malaria. In addition, zinc supplementation reduces the risk of both diarrhoea and pneumonia, which frequently complicate HIV infections. Therefore, zinc supplementation may reduce fatalities from these diseases.

7.7  Prevention and control of zinc deficiency

7.7.2  Addressing zinc deficiency