There is probably no single universal solution to the problem of scurvy

There is probably no single universal solution to the problem of scurvy

...stated a recent review of interventions to prevent scurvy occurring amongst refugees and other emergency affected populations.

According to this review a good way of preventing Vitamin C and other micronutrient deficiencies is proba bly to increase the general ration by about 10% above basic requirements. This would allow the recipients to sell or barter the ration for vitamin C rich foods like fruit and vegetables. The review acknowledges that in the early stages of an emergency, and for some isolated populations, local markets may not exist so the ex change or barter strategy would not work. In these cases vitamin C tablet distribution may be the only fea sible option. Other prevention methods as well as the associated problems are also outlined and reflect the findings of other recent reviews (Mike Toole 1995). These include providing fortified blended cereal- legume foods in the general ration, fortifying other gen eral ration commodities such as wheat or maize flour, distributing vitamin C rich foods like fruits and vegeta bles and tubers, and in the longer term, local cultivation of more durable vegetables and tubers such as potatoes and onions.

For further information contact Zita Weise Prinzo, WHO, Avenue Appia 1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland. E mail: weiseprinzoz@who.ch

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There is probably no single universal solution to the problem of scurvy. Field Exchange 1, May 1997. p9. www.ennonline.net/fex/1/scurvy