Bangladesh to begin vaccination against pandemic influenza H1N1Dhaka 4 May 2010: Bangladesh will begin its H1N1 pandemic vaccination program today (Tuesday) targeting 15.6 million people who fall within the priority groups for vaccination against H1N1 pandemic influenza.
As per National Plan of Action for Pandemic Influenza Vaccination and in accordance with WHO recommendations, the priority groups include healthcare providers, pregnant women and those aged above 6 months with chronic medical conditions.
In a ceremony held in the city, the Minister of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW), Professor A.F.M. Ruhal Haque, along with other health officials and representatives of UN agencies and development partners will launch the vaccination campaign and will receive the first shots of pandemic influenza H1N1 vaccine.
WHO is providing emergency supplies of the vaccine to 95 low- and middle-income countries that would not otherwise be able to secure supplies. WHO plans to provide enough doses to inoculate up to 10 per cent of the population of these countries. WHO estimates that in the first year, this will entail about 200 million doses of vaccine, plus ancillary products such as syringes and safety boxes.
The U.S. Government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has donated thirty million vaccines worldwide, part of which would be available for Bangladesh in this vaccination campaign. The U.S. Government has also provided 2,625,600 syringes and 30,200 safety boxes to Bangladesh to ensure that these vaccines are appropriately positioned in targeted areas. In partnership with the Government of Bangladesh and UNICEF, USAID has also assisted in the development of behavior change communication strategies and materials to familiarize this vaccine among the targeted audience.
Even before the emergence of H1N1, UNICEF has been working with the government to respond to the Avian Influenza outbreaks by creating awareness and promoting behaviour to reduce the risk of transmission and spread of avian influenza among poultry and people. During this same period UNICEF also worked with the Ministry of Health to build mechanisms which could respond to an emerging pandemic. UNICEF together with partners promoted the practice of safe flu preventive behaviors among the general public while supporting the training of healthcare providers down to the Union level.
“WHO works hand in hand with MOHFW to bring this vaccine to Bangladesh and provides technical and financial support for reaching the most vulnerable groups who are at risk of pandemic Influenza H1N1 virus, said WHO Representative to Bangladesh Dr Duangvadee Sungkhobol.
”UNICEF has been supporting the Government of Bangladesh with technical and financial assistance since the pandemic was first announced in mid-2009. Since then UNICEF together with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare have been consistently creating awareness through mass media and interpersonal communication channels to increase the adoption of flu preventive behaviors among the general public” said Chief of Health and Nutrition Section of UNICEF Birthe Locatelli- Rossi.
“The United States Government has pledged to support this aggressive effort to stop the global spread of the H1N1 influenza pandemic by partnering with the Government of Bangladesh, WHO, and UNICEF, along with other development partners, to implement this vaccine campaign. The steps taken today are essential in preventing an influenza pandemic in Bangladesh as well as the world” said Nick Dean, Deputy Chief of Mission U.S. Embassy.
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