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Pneumonia vaccination to be launched next year

RN Desk:   Bangladesh will launch ‘pneumonia’ vaccination next year for the children in order to reduce the country’s high child mortality rate.

“As every year almost 17 per cent children die in pneumonia, so the government will introduce a new type of vaccine called Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV), used to protect infants and children against disease caused by bacteria-pneumococcus, from the next year under the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI)”, said Health and Family Welfare Secretary MM Niazuddin.

The Secretary disclosed this during a press briefing, organized by the health service directorate and the ministry of health and family welfare, at the conference room of the secretariat here today.

Earlier, the vaccination to eradicate the highly infectious viral child disease like measles or rubeola had been launched on 2012 in the country under the EPI vaccination campaign programme, said the official.

Meanwhile, the top health official told the journalists that the government has decided to observe 21st National Immunization Day (NID) on December 21 this year to maintain the country’s polio free status.

On that day, about 22.2 million children aged 0-59 months will be immunized by providing two drops of oral polio vaccine (OPV).

Sixty thousand health and family welfare workers along with 6 lakh volunteers would be engaged in 1.30 lakh vaccination sites across the country for providing the vaccination to the targeted children, said the health secretary.

“Targeted children who received OPV in previous NIDs or in routine Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) or who have never been vaccinated with OPV will receive two drops of OPV on the day of NID”, he added.

Parents can bring their children under 5 years for vaccination at the EPI sites on the day of NID from 8 am to 4pm.

In addition to regular vaccination sites, travelling children will be provided OPV vaccine through additional sites established at railway stations, launch terminals, bus stoppage and other crowded areas, said the health secretary.

“Polio has been identified this year in eight countries in the world including Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria”, he said.

The government, with the support of Unicef, WHP, Rotary International and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mounted a model response to immunise all under-five children across the country.

Since 1995, Bangladesh started NIDs to eradicate Polio. This was in addition to its nation-wide normal immunisation programme.

Since the detection of polio in March 2006, there have been six rounds of polio NIDs in 2006 and four rounds in 2007. At each of these rounds, between 95 percent and 98 percent of under-five children in the country were reached.

Prior to this case, the country had been polio-free for five years. Eighteen polio cases were later detected in 12 districts, with the last one reported in November 2006.

Director General Health Services Prof Dr Khondhaker Md Shefyetullah, Director General of Family Planning AKM Amir Hossain, officials from ministry, officials from department of Health and Family Planning, representatives of WHO, Unicef and other international and national development partners, among others, were also present.

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