|UNICEF assists Bangladesh in campaign against measles||9 March 2006|
Late last month, vaccination teams supported by UNICEF fanned out across Bangladesh, visiting schools, parks, institutions, neighbourhoods, and bus and railway stations.
Their objective: to reach some 33.5 million Bangladeshi children in the world’s largest-ever vaccination campaign against measles.
Measles is one of the most contagious diseases known to man. It weakens the immune system, leaving children vulnerable to fatal complications from pneumonia, dehydration and malnutrition. In Bangladesh, nearly 20,000 children die from measles every year. And even children that survive the disease can suffer permanent disabilities, including blindness, deafness and brain damage.
Yet it costs only $1 to administer a measles vaccine to a child.
That’s why UNICEF is a global leader in immunization and vaccine supply, reaching 40 per cent of the world’s children. And that’s why we recently joined forces with the Government of Bangladesh, the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners to launch the ‘Measles Catch Up Campaign’.
The campaign makes the measles vaccine available for every child under the age of 10, including those who have already been immunized against the disease.
UNICEF’s role in the campaign is to ensure an adequate supply of vaccines and the equipment necessary to deliver them. We also provide support in raising community awareness about the need for vaccinations.
Similar campaigns are being conducted all the time, all around the world. In December, the Government of Nigeria completed Africa’s largest-ever measles campaign with support from UNICEF and its partners.
Thanks to this sustained global effort, between 1999 and 2005 global measles deaths were reduced by around 40 per cent.
Your continued support of UNICEF makes a tremendous difference in this effort. And your support also makes a tremendous difference in the lives—and health—of children all around the world.