Talking Nutrition Editors
To find out more about DSM’s trip to Chandigarh, watch the video.
Following a trip to Uganda with Vitamin Angels in 2018, members of DSM’s leadership team headed to Chandigarh, India, in June this year, to further their understanding of the organization’s work.
Pregnant women and young infants living in developing regions, such as Chandigarh, often struggle to access essential vitamins and nutrients. Since 2007, DSM has worked alongside Vitamin Angels to help reduce preventative illnesses in at risk communities. In many cases, DSM provides the supplements that form the nutritional interventions run by Vitamin Angels. In Chandigarh, DSM provided the Vitamin A that was distributed to children.
Ensuring both children and expectant mothers receive adequate nutrition is crucial to supporting future generations in realizing their full physical and cognitive potential. While many diets around the world have rich sources of vitamin A, particularly western diets, vitamin A deficiency is very common in many developing countries and regions.1
In fact, 150 million children don’t get the vitamin A they need, and deficiency is more common in developing countries where foods aren’t fortified. This is because vitamin A-rich foods can’t be grown or are too expensive for those living in extreme poverty. Vitamin A deficiency can lead to a host of health issues, including birth defects, eye damage and even blindness. Visible side effects include thin, brittle, or lightened hair, dry skin and stunted growth.3
By supplying vitamin A supplements to children, we’re supporting the healthy function of2:
It is important that as an organization that aids nutritional interventions, DSM experiences how they are carried out – which is what makes these trips so significant. While many may think these interventions are purely about providing vitamins, nutritional education is a huge part of what Vitamin Angels and DSM work together to achieve.
The communities supported by Vitamin Angels are very aware of the benefits of the supplements provided and are motivated to give their children the best possible start in life. Therefore, they’re open about learning more about the role of nutrition and the best sources.
For many team members, Chandigarh was a big part of this realization.
Maha Elkharbotly, Global Chief Marketing Officer at DSM, spoke about her experience: “What I saw in Chandigarh went beyond my expectations. I was expecting it to purely focus on the distribution of vitamins, but it really went beyond that. Vitamin Angels’ work is about making a whole generation healthy – creating opportunities for children and creating brighter futures for all.
“It’s even about empowering women. To see the number of women involved in helping this program, including the street doctors that helped with distribution, really brings happiness to my heart. As a woman, as a human, I’m very grateful for Vitamin Angels and all that they do.”
Supporting the distribution of vitamins and education around nutrition helps younger generations achieve optimal growth and development. The enhanced health and cognitive ability allow children to go to school and have more freedom of choice than their parents, in turn allowing them to give back to their communities.