Dr. Alfred Sommer, dean emeritus and professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has been recognized as a “hero of progress” in a series of articles by Human Progress, a project of the Cato Institute. The Heroes of Progress bi-weekly column provides a short introduction to heroes who have made an extraordinary contribution to the well-being of humanity.
Dr. Sommer discovered that vitamin A deficiency dramatically contributes to increased childhood mortality and morbidity and that providing children, especially those living in the developing world, with vitamin A tablets twice a year could drastically reduce the rate of childhood death and blindness. It is estimated that Dr. Sommer’s discovery and treatment has saved more than 12 million children from an early death, and it continues to save hundreds of thousands more people every year.
Because of how cheap and easy it is to provide the biannual vitamin A supplements to those in need, the World Bank’s World Development Report declared Dr. Sommer’s vitamin A supplementation as one of the most cost effective of all health interventions.Friday Letter Submission, Publish on July 19