A senseless fight
Published 03 February 2014
The sickly toddler is about two years old. Holding the hand of her thin, ragged mother, her eyes are horrible to behold, just a bluish membrane where eyes should be. She is, of course, blind and will probably not live beyond her third year. Like 500,000 other children born in poor countries, her blindness is a result of vitamin A deficiency, a problem that could have been fixed by a diet adequate in vegetables such as carrots or tomatoes. These contain beta-carotene, which her body could convert into vitamin A. But in the rural east of India, while rice is affordable, year-round vegetables are not.