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Bangladesh, UNICEF: large campaign against measles

Bangladesh and UNICEF gear up for world’s largest campaign against measles

With measles the fifth leading cause of death among children under five years of age in Bangladesh, this Saturday the Government, supported by its international partners, will launch the largest-ever vaccination campaign for around 34 million children, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said today.

“Few things yield greater benefits for the health, well being and survival of children than immunization. If ever Bangladesh needed a truly all-out effort to fight measles – which is a leading cause of death and disability among children – it is now,” said UNICEF’s Bangladesh Representative, Louis-Georges Arsenault.

UNICEF said that every year, an estimated 20,000 children die from measles in Bangladesh and, although almost 70 per cent of children under 1 year of age are reached through routine vaccination, the Government-organized campaign will provide an opportunity to reach the most susceptible children.

The children’s agency said this would be the biggest measles vaccination campaign in the world, involving approximately 50,000 skilled vaccinators and 750,000 volunteers covering 62 districts and 5 city corporations.

In fact, UNICEF said, the campaign would be the largest public health mobilization effort ever mounted in Bangladesh.

“To cover all the 33.5 million children, 40 million doses of measles vaccines, 40 million auto disabled syringes, 4 million reconstitution syringes and 200,000 safety boxes have been procured and distributed,” UNICEF said.

“The campaign also involves a huge communication and social mobilization drive, including mass media, distribution of communication materials…and door-to-door interpersonal communication initiatives targeting parents and caretakers,” the agency added.

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