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Authors of a recently published paper evaluating a five-year trial of Deworming and Enhanced Vitamin A supplementation (DEVTA) in one million pre-school children in Uttar Pradesh, India have argued for funders to "invest and invest heavily" in such studies.
The DEVTA trial, originally carried out seven years ago, was larger than all other vitamin A trials combined and shows thatpre-school vitamin A supplementation, assumed to reduce child mortality by a quarter and intestinal deworming, and assumed to improve child nutrition, growth, and cognitive development has been shown to have no significant effect on child mortality.
Conclusions are drawn in the paper that although DEVTA didn't show a big difference to child mortality rates, funders shouldn't shy away from funding trials of this scale.
One such institution, theLondon Centre for Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) Research, which was opened on January 30 this year, aims to address these and otherresearch needs to strengthen the evidence-base around effective NTD control programmes.
Research carried outby the Centrewill serve to provide demand driven technical advice and support to countries looking to develop and implement deworming programmes.
Conclusions in the paper are made, "As an international community of scientists participating in policy, we must ensure that this trial...ensure(s) the best use of ï¬nite resources to contribute to the health of children in developing countries."