04 February 2024

Dr. Naznin Akter’s journey in safeguarding special girl children against human papillomavirus (HPV)

"My mother used to have excessive bleeding and pain during menstrual periods. Later due to the pain becoming unbearable, she had to have her uterus removed through surgery in order to prevent cervical cancer as she was in high risk of contracting the disease since she was not vaccinated against Human Papillomavirus (HPV)," said Dr. Naznin Akter, a…, Battle against cervical cancer, When Dr. Naznin Akter learned about the HPV vaccination campaign during a training session at the EPI headquarters, her personal connection to the impact of cervical cancer fueled her determination to spearhead a session at Proyash Institute of Special Education where her son is enrolled. Proyash  is a specialized institution which provides…, Overcoming HPV myths and spreading awareness, However, organizing the session at Proyash presented its own challenges. Deep-rooted myths and societal taboos surrounding HPV vaccine, such as the misconception that it's ineffective past age 12 and the unfounded belief in side effects like infertility, cast a shadow, making parents hesitant to vaccinate their children. Adding to the reluctance…, A student of Proyash Institute of Special Education getting the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine., UNICEF Bangladesh/2023/Sumon A student of Proyash Institute of Special Education getting the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine HPV_1159.JPG, A student of Proyash Institute of Special Education getting the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine., UNICEF Bangladesh/2023/Sumon A student of Proyash Institute of Special Education getting the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. A student of Proyash Institute of Special Education getting the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine “I took my daughter to her school today so she could receive the HPV vaccination. Cervical cancer has always worried me…, A safer tomorrow for girls in Bangladesh, In Bangladesh, millions of women die from cervical cancer, a disease which can be prevented by a single dose of vaccine to girls at an early age. Despite cervical cancer being the second most common cancer among women in Bangladesh and causing the highest number of cancer-related deaths, many people are not aware about the dangers of HPV and the…
17 April 2023

Going mobile to reach Bangladesh’s zero-dose children

Each morning, weather permitting, a team of health workers sets off from the Thanchi clinic in the Bandarban region of Bangladesh. Their goal is to reach children in remote villages, high up in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, to protect them against vaccine preventable diseases. The journey starts early morning at the clinic. They carefully pack…, A choppy boat ride across the river Sangu brings health workers closer to unvaccinated children., UNICEF and CDC/UN0723048/Monir A vaccination mission to protect every child, everywhere. UN0723002.jpg, A vaccination mission to protect every child, everywhere., UNICEF and CDC/UN0723002/Monir The boat journey is followed by two or three hours of hiking. UN0723049.jpg, The boat journey is followed by two or three hours of hiking., UNICEF and CDC/UN0723049/Monir In each community, health workers may expect to vaccinate up to 10 children. Even this small target can be a challenge to meet if children are out on farms with their parents. UN0723004.jpg, In each community, health workers may expect to vaccinate up to 10 children. Even this small target can be a challenge to meet if children are out on farms with their parents., UNICEF and CDC/UN0723004/Monir A choppy boat ride across the river Sangu brings health workers closer to unvaccinated children. A vaccination mission to protect every child, everywhere. The boat journey is followed by two or three hours of hiking. In each community, health workers may expect to vaccinate up to 10 children. Even this small target…, Overcoming geographical barriers to reach zero-dose children, Four-month-old Naiyu has not received a single vaccine dose. It means that he has missed four recommended vaccines, designed to protect against nine diseases, including tuberculosis, whooping cough, polio and measles. “After my son was born, I tried to get him vaccinated, but there was nowhere to do it where we lived. We returned to our home…, Naiyu is brought to the vaccination site by his mother., UNICEF and CDC/UN0723039/Monir Ubahine, right, prepares a vaccine for baby Naiyu, brought by his parents. UN0723029.jpg, Ubahine, right, prepares a vaccine for baby Naiyu, brought by his parents., UNICEF and CDC/UN0723029/Monir Proud parents with their son. UN0723026.jpg, Proud parents with their son., UNICEF and CDC/UN0723026/Monir Two-month-old Bidhan catches up on four overdue vaccines. UN0723015.jpg, Two-month-old Bidhan catches up on four overdue vaccines., UNICEF and CDC/UN0723015/Monir Bidhan’s mother is comforted knowing her son is now protected from several diseases. UN0723007.jpg, Bidhan’s mother is comforted knowing her son is now protected from several diseases., UNICEF and CDC/UN0723007/Monir Naiyu is brought to the vaccination site by his mother. Ubahine, right, prepares a vaccine for baby Naiyu, brought by his parents. Proud parents with their son. Two-month-old Bidhan catches up on four overdue vaccines. Bidhan’s mother is comforted knowing her son is now protected from several diseases. Over the last…, A system to track missed doses, Ubahine’s co-worker, Shaki, registers the births of babies born in the hills. “We keep records, so we know which vaccines to give each child on which day. After each session I check the books and see who missed an appointment. If we can’t reach the parents on the phone, we go to their homes. We repeat the process until the baby is fully immunized…, Children bearing the burden of socio-economic inequities, It is not only families in rural areas that can be hard-to-reach. Parents in cities, such as those working long hours in factories or other low-paid jobs, also struggle to access health centers. Health workers in Dhaka’s Mohammadpur area are operating door-to-door catch up services, setting up satellite sites, and arranging clinic appointments to…, Fatema and her son Hadiyat., UNICEF and CDC/UN0722984/Monir In some urban locations, parents struggle to access health services. N0722964.jpg, In some urban locations, parents struggle to access health services., UNICEF and CDC/UN0722964/Monir Health workers knock on doors to find unvaccinated children like Hadiyat. UN0722993.jpg, Health workers knock on doors to find unvaccinated children like Hadiyat., UNICEF and CDC/UN0722993/Monir Baby Hadiyat gets his polio vaccine. UN0722975.jpg, Baby Hadiyat gets his polio vaccine., UNICEF and CDC/UN0722975/Monir Fatema and her son Hadiyat. In some urban locations, parents struggle to access health services. Health workers knock on doors to find unvaccinated children like Hadiyat. Baby Hadiyat gets his polio vaccine. In contrast to Thanchi village, Mohammadpur is densely populated residential area of the city, home to more…
08 June 2022

Bangladesh’s COVID-19 vaccination rate has soared in a year

When COVID-19 vaccines started to arrive in Bangladesh, people felt a rush of hope. Families and friends could meet again. Life would maybe feel more normal. And it meant schools might reopen.   For children in Bangladesh, the pandemic has been a crisis like no other, affecting their education, health and well-being. About 37 million children in…, Mammoth task to vaccinate over 115 million people with two doses , Across the country, frontline health workers have been working in urban slums, trekking across fields and navigating rivers to get doses into people’s arms. Thanks to their efforts, over 250 million doses have now been administered, with more than 115 million people receiving two doses of the vaccine.  Young volunteers like Mohammad Al Mamun have…, Key vaccination target within reach , Bangladesh has a strong track record of rolling out mass vaccination programmes, especially for diseases like measles and rubella. But getting COVID-19 doses to communities across the country has presented specific challenges. When COVID-19 vaccines were initially developed and hit the market, wealthy countries bought most of the supplies. That…, Challenges ahead , As Bangladesh continues its push to vaccinate millions more people, the country still faces challenges.   There are still many difficult-to-reach populations, including some older, more vulnerable people. Recent data has shown that about 60 per cent of those aged 60 and over have yet to be vaccinated in Bangladesh, with some citing a lack of…
13 January 2021

What you need to know about COVID-19 vaccines

Vaccines save millions of lives each year. The development of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines are a crucial step in helping us get back to doing more of the things we enjoy with the people we love. We’ve gathered the latest expert information to answer some of the most common questions about COVID-19 vaccines. Keep checking back as we will…, What are the benefits of getting vaccinated?, Vaccines save millions of lives each year and a COVID-19 vaccine could save yours. The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, providing strong protection against serious illness and death. WHO reports that unvaccinated people have at least 10 times higher risk of death from COVID-19 than someone who has been vaccinated.  It is important to be…, Who should be vaccinated first?, Each country must identify priority populations, which WHO recommends are frontline health workers (to protect health systems) and those at highest risk of death due to COVID-19, such as older adults and people with certain medical conditions. Other essential workers, such as teachers and social workers, should then be prioritized, followed by…, When shouldn’t you be vaccinated against COVID-19?, If you have any questions about whether you should receive a COVID-19 vaccine, speak to your healthcare provider. At present, people with the following health conditions should not receive a COVID-19 vaccine to avoid any possible adverse effects: If you have a history of severe allergic reactions to any ingredients of a COVID-19 vaccine. If you…, Should I get vaccinated if I already had COVID-19?, Yes, you should get vaccinated even if you’ve previously had COVID-19. While people who recover from COVID-19 may develop natural immunity to the virus, it is still not certain how long that immunity lasts or how well it protects you against COVID-19 reinfection. Vaccines offer more reliable protection, especially against severe illness and death…, Which COVID-19 vaccine is best for me?, All WHO-approved vaccines have been shown to be highly effective at protecting you against severe illness and death from COVID-19. The best vaccine to get is the one most readily available to you. You can find a list of those approved vaccines on  WHO’s site .   Remember, if your vaccination involves two doses, it’s important to receive both to…, How do COVID-19 vaccines work?, Vaccines work by mimicking an infectious agent – viruses, bacteria or other microorganisms that can cause a disease. This ‘teaches’ our immune system to rapidly and effectively respond against it. Traditionally, vaccines have done this by introducing a weakened form of an infectious agent that allows our immune system to build a memory of it. This…, Are COVID-19 vaccines safe?, Yes, COVID-19 vaccines have been safely used to vaccinate billions of people. The COVID-19 vaccines were developed as rapidly as possible, but they had to go through rigorous testing in clinical trials to prove that they meet internationally agreed benchmarks for safety and effectiveness. Only if they meet these standards can a vaccine receive…, How were COVID-19 vaccines developed so quickly?, Scientists were able to develop safe effective vaccines in a relatively short amount of time due to a combination of factors that allowed them to scale up research and production without compromising safety:  Because of the global pandemic, there was a larger sample size to study and tens of thousands of volunteers stepped forward  Advancements in…, What are the side effects of COVID-19 vaccines?, Vaccines are designed to give you immunity without the dangers of getting the disease. Not everyone does, but it’s common to experience some mild-to-moderate side effects that go away within a few days on their own. Some of the mild-to-moderate side effects you may experience after vaccination include: Arm soreness at the injection site Mild fever…, How do I find out more about a particular COVID-19 vaccine?, You can find out more about COVID-19 vaccines on  WHO’s website ., Can I stop taking precautions after being vaccinated?, Keep taking precautions to protect yourself, family and friends if there is still COVID-19 in your area, even after getting vaccinated. The COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective against serious illness and death, but no vaccine is 100% effective.   The vaccines offer less protection against infection from the Omicron variant, which is now the…, Can I still get COVID-19 after I have been vaccinated? What are ‘breakthrough cases’?, A number of vaccinated people may get infected with COVID-19, which is called a breakthrough infection. In such cases, people are much more likely to only have milder symptoms. Vaccine protection against serious illness and death remains strong. With more infectious virus variants such as Omicron, there have been more breakthrough infections. That…, How long does protection from COVID-19 vaccines last?, According to WHO, the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines wanes around 4-6 months after the primary series of vaccination has been completed. Taking a booster to strengthen your protection against serious disease is recommended if it is available to you. , Do the COVID-19 vaccines protect against variants?, The WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccines continue to be highly effective at preventing severe illness and death. However, the vaccines offer less protection against infection from Omicron, which is the dominant variant globally. That's why it's important to get vaccinated and continue measures to reduce the spread of the virus – which helps to reduce…, Do I need to get a booster shot?  , Booster doses play an important role in protecting against severe disease, hospitalization and death.  WHO recommends that you take all COVID-19 vaccine doses recommended to you by your health authority as soon as it is your turn, including a booster dose if recommended.  Booster shots should be given first to high priority groups. Data shows that…, What do we know about the bivalent COVID-19 booster doses that have been developed to target Omicron?, Bivalent COVID-19 booster shots have now been developed with both the original strain of the coronavirus and a strain of Omicron. These have been designed to better match the Omicron subvariants that have proven to be particularly transmissible. Lab studies have shown that these doses help you to mount a higher antibody response against Omicron.…, Can I receive different types of COVID-19 vaccines? , Yes, however, policies on mixing vaccines vary by country. Some countries have used different vaccines for the primary vaccine series and the booster. Check with your local health authorities for guidance where you live and speak with your healthcare provider if you have any questions on what is best for you. , I’m pregnant. Can I get vaccinated against COVID-19?, Yes, you can get vaccinated if you are pregnant. COVID-19 during pregnancy puts you at higher risk of becoming severely ill and of giving birth prematurely.  Many people around the world have been vaccinated against COVID-19 while pregnant or breastfeeding. No safety concerns have been identified for them or their babies. Getting vaccinated while…, I’m breastfeeding. Should I get vaccinated against COVID-19?, Yes, if you are breastfeeding you should take the vaccine as soon as it is available to you. It is very safe and there is no risk to the mother or baby. None of the current COVID-19 vaccines have live virus in them, so there is no risk of you transmitting COVID-19 to your baby through your breastmilk from the vaccine. In fact, the antibodies that…, Can COVID-19 vaccines affect fertility?, No, you may have seen false claims on social media, but there is no evidence that any vaccine, including COVID-19 vaccines, can affect fertility in women or men. You should get vaccinated if you are currently trying to become pregnant., Could a COVID-19 vaccine disrupt my menstrual cycle?, Some people have reported experiencing a disruption to their menstrual cycle after getting vaccinated against COVID-19. Although data is still limited, research is ongoing into the impact of vaccines on menstrual cycles. Speak to your healthcare provider if you have concerns or questions about your periods., Should my child or teen get a COVID-19 vaccine?, An increasing number of vaccines have been approved for use in children. They’ve been made available after examining the data on the safety and efficacy of these vaccines, and millions of children have been safely vaccinated around the world. Some COVID-19 vaccines have been approved for children from the age of 6 months old. Check with your local…, How do I talk to my kids about COVID-19 vaccines?, News about COVID-19 vaccines is flooding our daily lives and it is only natural that curious young minds will have questions – lots of them. Read our  explainer article  for help explaining what can be a complicated topic in simple and reassuring terms. It’s important to note that from the millions of children that have so far been vaccinated…, My friend or family member is against COVID-19 vaccines. How do I talk to them?, The development of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines is a huge step forward in our global effort to end the pandemic. This is exciting news, but there are still some people who are skeptical or hesitant about COVID-19 vaccines. Chances are you know a person who falls into this category. We spoke to Dr. Saad Omer, Director at the Yale Institute…, How can I protect my family until we are all vaccinated?, Safe and effective vaccines are a game changer, but even once vaccinated we need to continue taking precautions for the time being to protect ourselves and others. Variants like Omicron have proven that although COVID-19 vaccines are very effective at preventing severe disease, they’re not enough to stop the spread of the virus alone. The most…, Can COVID-19 vaccines affect your DNA?, No, none of the COVID-19 vaccines affect or interact with your DNA in any way. Messenger RNA, or mRNA, vaccines teach the cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response inside the body. This response produces antibodies which keep you protected against the virus. mRNA is different from DNA and only stays inside the cell for about 72…, Do the COVID-19 vaccines contain any animal products in them?, No, none of the WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccines contain animal products., I’ve seen inaccurate information online about COVID-19 vaccines. What should I do?, Sadly, there is a lot of inaccurate information online about the COVID-19 virus and vaccines. A lot of what we’re experiencing is new to all of us, so there may be some occasions where information is shared, in a non-malicious way, that turns out to be inaccurate. Misinformation in a health crisis can spread paranoia, fear and stigmatization. It…, What is COVAX?, COVAX is a global effort committed to the development, production and equitable distribution of vaccines around the world. No country will be safe from COVID-19 until all countries are protected. There are 190 countries and territories engaged in the COVAX Facility, which account for over 90 per cent of the world’s population. Working with CEPI,…
13 November 2020

Worldwide Measles Deaths Climb 50% from 2016 to 2019 Claiming Over 207,500 Lives in 2019

NEW YORK/ GENEVA/ ATLANTA/ DHAKA, 13 November 2020 – Measles surged worldwide in 2019 reaching highest number of reported cases in 23 years.  Highlighted in a publication by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), measles cases worldwide increased to 869,770 in 2019, the highest…, Global response to COVID-19 pandemic must not exacerbate the measles crisis, Although reported cases of measles are lower in 2020, necessary efforts to control COVID-19 have resulted in disruptions in vaccination and crippled efforts to prevent and minimize measles outbreaks. As of November, more than 94 million people were at risk of missing vaccines due to paused measles campaigns in 26 countries.  Many of these…, Causes of failure to control measles are many and must be addressed, Global immunization partners are engaging leaders and public health professionals in affected and at-risk countries to ensure that measles vaccines are available and safely delivered, and that caregivers understand the life-saving benefit of the vaccine.  On 6 November 2020, WHO and UNICEF issued an emergency call to action for measles and polio…, Quotes from Our Partners, “These alarming figures should act as a warning that, with the COVID-19 pandemic occupying health systems across the world, we cannot afford to take our eye off the ball when it comes to other deadly diseases. Measles is entirely preventable; in a time in which we have a powerful, safe and cost-effective vaccine nobody should still be dying of…