Bangladesh

Vitamin A campaign reaches 18 million to help recover from flood

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF Bangladesh/-2204/Torlesse
One of the 18 million children receiving Vitamin A that will help prevent diseases such as diarrhoea.

DHAKA, BANGLADESH/NEW YORK, 10 November 2004 - More than 18 million children in Bangladesh have received potentially life saving Vitamin A capsules after floods this year destroyed crops and left large parts of the country without food. One million children already face acute malnutrition and the crisis could continue for another year unless further action is taken.

“Many of these children were malnourished before the floods began and now they are at much greater risk,” says UNICEF Nutrition Officer Harriet Torlesse. “Because they don’t have good food to eat, and many are also sick many times, this is exactly why the national Vitamin A week campaign is so important this year.”

Thousands of volunteers and health workers administered the capsules to children under five in 120,000 different locations, including bus and train stations. Children aged between two and five years were also given de-worming tablets.

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF Bangladesh/-2204/Torlesse
Children from all over Bangladesh queue to receive Vitamin A and de-worming tablets. The medicine was administered at 120,000 different locations.

“The nutritional status of these children is very poor,” says UNICEF’s Chief of Field Operations in Bangladesh, Shairose Mawji. “The Vitamin A capsules will increase the strength of these children so that they can fight against diseases like diarrhoea and also strengthen them so that they can continue to grow.”

The monsoon floods that hit Bangladesh between July and September destroyed the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of families who lost their crops, livestock and savings. In some areas of the country there won’t be any harvest until May next year. Food prices have soared and many families can’t afford to buy food for their children – which increases the risk of malnutrition and Vitamin A deficiency.

UNICEF is continuing to work with the Institute of Public Health and Nutrition and the Bangladesh Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to ensure that children’s health does not deteriorate any further.


 

 

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10 November 2004: 18 million children in Bangladesh get Vitamin A

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