Health experts in Bangladesh have successfully immunised 22 million under-five children [or about 97 percent of that age group] against polio. […] Polio (poliomyelitis) is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus [that] enters the body through the mouth, or in water or food that has been contaminated with faecal material from an infected person. The disease mainly affects younger children.
“We hope we will be able to make Bangladesh polio-free by 2011,” Salma Begum, a local field worker told IRIN in a suburb of Dhaka, adding that there had not been a single case of polio in the country since November 2006.
Field workers from the government’s health and family planning department, along with 600,000 volunteers administered the oral polio vaccines (OPVs) to children on 29 November at 140,000 sites across the country, followed by a four-day house-to-house search to ensure that no child was left out.
[…] [The immunisation campaign was] part of Bangladesh’s current (17th) national immunisation day (NID), with each one receiving two drops of OPV and a vitamin A capsule as part of the first round of the campaign. Vitamin A is given to children to bolster their immune system against diseases such as measles, diarrhoea and night blindness.
[…] The government of Bangladesh, with support from UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), carried out the campaign.
[…] Bangladesh launched the drive to immunise all under-five children when, after a lapse of five years, a case of polio was detected in March 2006.
[…] Measles and diarrhoea contribute to over 25 percent of deaths among children aged 1-5 in Bangladesh, UNICEF has reported.
Source: IRIN, 01 Dec 2008