Immunisation in Bangladesh

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Developing countries around the world have much to learn from Bangladesh’s successful immunisation programme. Click through these images of “Vaccination Day” in a village near Dhaka to see why.

15 November 2011

Bangladesh immunisation 1
Saiful Huq Omi/GAVI/2011

Immunisation charts at the Upazila Health Complex in Kapasia tell their own story: a steady rise in the delivery of pentavalent vaccine. Like the rest of Bangladesh, immunisation coverage in this district of 400,000 people touches 90%.

Bangladesh immunisation 2
Saiful Huq Omi/GAVI/2011

Kapasia’s own success starts in these cold boxes, used to deliver BCG, pentavalent, tetanus toxoid, measles and polio vaccines to 200 villages. Each is packed with ice to ensure protection from temperatures that soar to 40 degrees in the monsoon season.

Bangladesh immunisation 3
Saiful Huq Omi/GAVI/2011

At the village of Torgaom, 60 kilometres from Dhaka, civil society organisation BRAC holds a vaccination day.  CSO’s deliver 55% of vaccines in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh immunisation 4
Saiful Huq Omi/GAVI/2011

Once a month, Mr Shamsul Morol’s house is converted into a makeshift vaccination clinic with a local health worker delivering vaccinations to mothers and children in the shade of a wooden verandah.

Bangladesh immunisation 5
Saiful Huq Omi/GAVI/2011

Watched by her 20-year-old mother Akha, three month-old Orpa receives her third dose of pentavalent vaccine.  Purchased with GAVI funding from Unicef, this five in one multivalent offers protection from DTP3, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type b.

Bangladesh immunisation 6
Saiful Huq Omi/GAVI/2011

Round the corner from Mr Moro’s house, BRAC’s local health worker, Mrs Hosne Ara Khatum, aged 33, uses a flipchart to teach pregnant mothers about primary health care, basic hygiene, breastfeeding and maternal health.

Bangladesh immunisation 7
Saiful Huq Omi/GAVI/2011

Amina Begum is one of 46,000 local health volunteers that underpin Bangladesh’s child and maternal health care. She ensures that under-five’s vaccine cards are up-to-date – a key requirement to monitor immunisation rates.

Bangladesh immunisation 8
Saiful Huq Omi/GAVI/2011

Dr Tajal Islam A. Bari, Assistant Professor Maternal and Child Health at the Ministry of Health shows-off the auto-disposable syringe (AD) used to deliver all vaccines in Bangladesh. Since GAVI stopped supplying AD’s in 2007, the Health Ministry has procured its own safe syringes from South Korea.

Bangladesh immunisation 9
Saiful Huq Omi/GAVI/2011

But the Health Ministry’s work is far from complete. At a Dhaka clinic, this baby’s laboured breathing is a sight that haunts most Bangladeshi mothers – a warning that their newborn has succumbed to pneumonia, the nation’s biggest killer of under-fives. 

Bangladesh immunisation 10
Saiful Huq Omi/GAVI/2011

Bangladeshi mothers are eagerly awaiting the arrival of pneumococcal vaccine, which will protect babies from the leading cause of pneumonia.  GAVI is expected to provide funding support for the new vaccine in 2012.

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