Bangladesh has held the country’s largest ever measles and rubella vaccination campaign, aiming to reach 52 million children aged 9 months to 15 years, according to a UNICEF report. The campaign has seen thousands of vaccinators and volunteers cover more than 170,000 schools and 150,000 immunisation centres over a three-week period. Dr. Purabi Ahmed, project manager at the Urban Primary Healthcare Services Delivery Project is quoted as saying this campaign received a huge response with families are pouring into the centers to get their children vaccinated.
Measles is one of the most contagious diseases known to science and is an important cause of death and disability among children worldwide. Immunization plays a big role in preventing this. The UNICEF report mentions Sajid, a 13 year old boy, who missed the vaccine when it was administered at school. The campaign will mop up children who have missed out through a community-based vaccination program. The campaign has engaged opinion leaders and change agents to create a social movement around the program. One example is Hazi Abdul Jabbar, a 90-year-old landlord in Charpara, who has opened his house as an immunization site since 1985. An ICCDDR,B report showed that supplementary immunisation activities had a positive impact on the health systems and created a framework on which other healthcare interventions for bacterial and viral diseases could be based. ICCDR,B plan to conduct an evaluation of the program with GAVI and WHO support.