Enablers of vitamin A coverage among children under five years of age from multi-country analyses of global demographic and health surveys in selected LMIC and LIC countries in Africa and Asia: a random forest analysis

Manoj Kumar Raut, J. C. Reddy, Debabrata Bera, Kirti Warvadekar


Background: Vitamin A deficiency is a common form of micronutrient malnutrition. The estimated relative risks associated with vitamin A deficiency in children were 1.86 (95% CI 1.32–2.59) for measles mortality, 2.15 (95% CI 1.83–2.58) for diarrhoea mortality, 1.78 (95% CI 1.43–2.19) for malaria mortality, 1.13 (95% CI 1.01–1.32) for other infectious disease mortality. Vitamin A supplementation reduces night blindness, child morbidity and mortality.

Methods: This paper tries to explore the socio-demographic causes of receipt of vitamin A in selected lower-middle-income and low income countries by analysing the data of the demographic and health surveys from 2012 and 2016 using PASW 18.0 software. Multivariate binary logistic regressions were conducted to explore the role of socio-demographic covariates in the receipt of vitamin A supplementation. In addition, random forest (RF) analyses were conducted using Python 3.6.

Results: After adjusting for related socio-economic and demographic factors, mother’s work status and education and among mass media channels, exposure to television seems to play an important role in predicting receipt of vitamin A in the selected countries in Asia, while education of the mother was significantly associated with the receipt of vitamin A in the selected countries of Africa. In all the selected countries, the RF analyses revealed mother’s education followed by wealth index and mass media (TV), as the variable of most importance.

Conclusions: It can be concluded that mother’s education and mass media seems to be working well in making the mothers aware about the vitamin A campaign, especially, the exposure to television. It also figures in the variable importance matrix in addition to wealth index.


Vitamin A supplementation, Vitamin A deficiency, Maternal education, Mass media, Wealth index, Demographic and health surveys

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