Civil society in Bangladesh

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When GAVI’s Civil Society Steering Committee gathered in Bangladesh (11-13 November), they were eager to learn more about the country’s immunisation success story. Local CSO BRAC obliged with a field visit to Torgaom village near Dhaka.

15 November 2011

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Saiful Huq Omi/GAVI/2011

Sabrina Bakeera-Kitaka of the Uganda Pediatric Association can’t wait to share images of vaccination day at Torgaom with Kampala’s civil society. “It’s remarkable to see mothers out there pushing for immunisation. I want to take this model back to Uganda.”

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Saiful Huq Omi/GAVI/2011

Doctor Shahidul Islam, responsible for the Upazila Health Complex in which Torgaom is located, explains the district’s soaring immunisation rates to Simon Wright of Save the Children UK.

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Saiful Huq Omi/GAVI/2011

Marvin Meier, World Vision Germany, puts his medical background to use by vaccinating a local mother with pentavalent vaccine – the five in one multivalent that Bangladesh is rolling out with GAVI funding support.

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Saiful Huq Omi/GAVI/2011

“It’s impressive how well things are organised,” says Alan Hinman, the GAVI Civil Society Board Representative, “We saw a two-month child being brought for immunisation that had already been registered for a previous vaccine. That’s critical for surveillance.”

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Saiful Huq Omi/GAVI/2011

The field visit to Torgaom took place on World Pneumonia Day, designed to raise awareness of the world’s (and Bangladesh’s) biggest killer of under-fives, pneumonia.

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Saiful Huq Omi/GAVI/2011

Jim Dobbin (centre, in blue shirt), a UK Member of Parliament on a fact-finding mission to learn more about Bangladesh’s immunisation success story, watches as a BRAC health worker teaches mothers how to recognise symptoms of pneumonia.

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Saiful Huq Omi/GAVI/2011

“We have to learn many things from Bangladesh,” says Naveem Thacker of the Indian Academy of Pediatrics. “They have more than 90 percent coverage, they have introduced new vaccines, they are all set to go for pneumococcal.”

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Saiful Huq Omi/GAVI/2011

“Only civil society can reach this type of place,” says Clarisse Loe Loumou, Vice President of the African CSO Alternative Sante. “We’re 50 km from Dhaka and it is difficult for the government to go so far to deliver services and prevention."

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Saiful Huq Omi/GAVI/2011

Back at the BRAC centre at Rajendrapur, the Steering Committee draw inspiration from their field trip to discuss how civil society can ensure immunisation reaches even the remotest villages in developing countries.

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Saiful Huq Omi/GAVI/2011

“Visiting the field makes you understand the realities and complexities of delivering projects,” says Simon Wright.  “We have an idea that pledges are made and developing countries just jump. Well they don’t. If you’re going to get the vaccines to where they are needed, you need a structure like what we have seen here in Bangladesh.”

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