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Sixteenth NIDs to provide polio vaccine, Vitamin A and deworming doses to more than 22m children

Dhaka, October 26, 2007:Bangladesh will conduct the first round of 16th National Immunization Days (NIDs) on Saturday, 27 October, during which more than 22 million children up to 5 years of age will be administered polio vaccines and Vitamin A capsules.
The second round, scheduled to be held on 8 December, will combine deworming tablets for children between the ages of 2 and 5. Thirty million doses of oral polio vaccines, 20 million doses of high-potency Vitamin A capsules and 13 million doses of Albendazole tablets have been procured for the purpose.
The NIDs will be implemented through more than 60,000 health workers and volunteers in 140,000 vaccination centres including mobile centres and outreach sites across Bangladesh. Besides, a four-day house-to-house search will follow each round in order to make sure that no child misses the immunization.
The Government of Bangladesh (GOB) with support from UNICEF, WHO, Rotary International and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, Atlanta) mounted a model response to immunize all under-5 children across the country when the first case of polio was detected in March 2006 after an absence of 5 years. Eighteen polio cases have so far been detected in 12 districts across all divisions of Bangladesh with the last one being reported on 22 November, 2006.
“The NIDs will not only help root out polio, but through combining Vitamin A capsules and deworming tablets, it will reduce chances of other diseases in children, particularly in the post-flood reality,” said Mr. Louis-Georges Arsenault, UNICEF Bangladesh Representative.
The rate of Vitamin A supplementation has reached 93 per cent in Bangladesh and night blindness in children aged 1-5 has reduced to 0.04 per cent, which is no longer a public health threat, he said. Meanwhile, deworming tablets will help improve the nutritional status of children making way for their proper growth through ensuring increased immunity and better IQ, he added.
“The timely response to poliovirus importation in 2006 and 8 rounds of NIDs conducted in 2006-2007 up to today is the key to success in keeping Bangladesh polio free again. In addition, special effort was given to improve the quality of NID as well as routine EPI activities particularly in hard to reach areas in order to reach all un-reached children. Combining NIDs activities with Vitamin A for prevention of night blindness and albendazole for deworming give additional advantages for the improvement of health and survival of children,” said Dr. Duangvadee Sungkhobol, World Health Organization (WHO) Representative to Bangladesh.
As the NIDs re-started, the GOB also decided to integrate National Vitamin A Plus Campaign (NVAC) with NIDs with support from Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Micronutrient Initiative, UNICEF and WHO.
The high-potency Vitamin A capsules provide a cost-effective way to protect children against serious health and growth hazards as its deficiency poses survival threats to children and mothers. It also increases risk of child mortality from diseases such as measles and diarrhoea. These infections contribute to over 25 per cent of deaths among children aged 1-5 years in Bangladesh. The vitamin A supplementation is particularly useful for children in overcoming the impact of the recent floods.
The NIDs in 2006 reached between 95 per cent and 97 per cent under-5 children. There will be two NID rounds in 2007 including the present one and two rounds every year from 2008 until bordering India, which has been identified as an endemic country, is polio-free.
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) works with governments around the world to reduce the incidence of polio and is spearheaded by WHO, Rotary International, the CDC and UNICEF. The global case count has declined this year compared to the same period in 2006. While 1997 cases were reported globally from both endemic and non-endemic countries in 2006, the same is 545 till date in 2007.

For more information:
UNICEF contact:
Zafrin Chowdhury
Sr. Communication Officer
Communication and Information
UNICEF Bangladesh +8802 9336701 – 10/Ext. 397

WHO contact:
Dr. Serguei Diorditsa
Team Leader IVD and Medical Officer
WHO Bangladesh
+8802 989 9540 +8802 881 3410



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