Essay Introduction Of Vitamin A Deficiency ( Vad )
Vitamin A deficiency (VAD), the leading cause of preventable blindness in children worldwide, is especially prevalent in India (Chow, Klein & Laxminarayan, 2010). Due to the limited availability of nutritious staple foods in poor and rural areas, India hosts about 35 million children with
VAD—the greatest number, and the greatest percentage, of VAD children in the world (ibid). VAD also affects more than 12 percent of pregnant women in India, causing them and many of their children to suffer not only blindness, but also increased mortality and increased vulnerability to infections such as measles and diarrhea (Dawe, Robertson & Unnevehr, 2002).
Since the first attempts to genetically modify rice to synthesize vitamin A (also known as vitamin βcarotene) were made in 2000, a significant amount of global media coverage has promoted this “golden rice” as a way to address VAD (Eisenstein, 2014). However, golden rice has yet to be implemented in India or any other country due to technical challenges and regulatory complications, as well as strong opposition from stakeholder groups such as Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, and the
European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (Eisenstein, 2014;
Ropeik, 2014), and from farmers concerned about the economic and environmental impacts of genetically modified (GM) crops (e.g. Masipag, 2014).
Previous examples suggest that facilitating dramatic health improvements in developing nations is complex and…