All babies need Vitamin A to help protect them from infectious diseases. When they are born, they have a reserve of Vitamin A that is adequate for a short time until they begin breast-feeding. But if the mother is undernourished, the milk she provides may not contain enough Vitamin A and the baby struggles to survive.
That is the situation in many developing countries where the death rate for newborns is especially high. VOA's Melinda Smith has more on a recent study that shows that giving Vitamin A to babies right after birth can reduce the odds of death significantly.
Some video courtesy of Johns Hopkins School of Public Health