Bangladesh to launch world's biggest measles vaccination drive

DHAKA: More than 33 million children in Bangladesh will be vaccinated next month in the world's largest measles vaccination campaign, officials said yesterday.

Measles kills around 20,000 children each year in the disaster-prone country where nearly half the 140 million population lives on less than one dollar a day.

"We will start the nationwide anti-measles campaign from February during which a total of 33.5 million children will be vaccinated against measles," said Health Ministry spokesman Golam Kibria said.

"The plan is to wipe out measles once for all from Bangladesh soil," Kibria said.

Hundreds of thousands of people would take part in the drive, a government official said.

"The number of vaccinators will be 50,775 and 746,640 volunteers will be working with them," the official said, asking not to be named.

"Bangladesh has one of the highest child mortality rates from measles. The campaign will be the world's biggest-ever measles vaccination programme," said United Nations Children's Fund spokeswoman Kirsty McIvor.

Vaccination centres would be set up in over 260,000 schools, hospitals, and other public buildings, Kibria added.

The US$12 million campaign, which is being funded by the United Nations Children's Fund and the Bangladeshi Government, aims to vaccinate a total of 34.8 million children.

Some 1.3 million children received their jabs in the first stage of the project last September.

The majority of the inoculations, however, would be carried out between February 25 and March 16 when the other 33.5 million children would be vaccinated.

Most developed countries routinely vaccinate children against measles but the virus still kills an estimated 500,000 people globally each year.

Source: China Daily

People's Daily Online ---