Dhaka, Bangladesh
2.25 crore children to be fed capsules

Vitamin 'A' plus campaign Saturday

2.25 crore children to be fed capsules

News Report The national Vitamin 'A' plus campaign will be held across the country on Saturday (February 9), aiming to feed Vitamin A plus capsules to all children aged between six months to five years. Health Minister Zahid Malek announced the fresh date of the campaign at a press briefing at the Secretariat on Thursday "Around 2.25 crore children, aged between six months to five years, will be fed Vitamin A capsules under the nationwide campaign on the day," the minister said. The total number of children, around 25 lakh aged between six to 11 months will be fed one blue colour Vitamin-A capsule each, while around 1.94 crore babies aged between 12 to 59 months would be fed red color capsules. They will be fed the Vitamin A capsule at some 1, 20,000 permanent and 20 thousand mobile health centres across the country. Mobile health centres will be set up at bus stands, railway stations, launch terminals, airports, ferry terminals, bridge toll centres and kheya ghats and these will remain open from 8am to 4pm to make sure that all children are fed the capsules. At least two trained volunteers would work at each centre. The parents are requested to bring their children with full stomach to be fed the Vitamin-A capsule. Children should not be fed the capsule forcefully or while they are crying. Children aged below six months or more than five years or with any kind of sickness should not be fed the capsule. The rate of children's night-blindness in the country has come down below one per cent following the distribution of Vitamin A-plus capsules regularly. Feeding of Vitamin-A capsule not only keep the children safe from night-blindness, it also increases their immune system, keep their eyesight perfect, bring down the child mortality rate and ensure their natural growth, among other benefits. Replying to a question the health minister said, "As a problem was detected in the Vitamin A capsules, we did not want to take any risk and we did not use those capsules. Now there is no problem." A probe committee was formed over the incident which has submitted a report. Those who are responsible for it will be punished, he said. Responding to a question about the problems of the previous capsules, the Minister said "As supply of capsules was delayed, a case was filed with a court. It took around one and a half years to settle the case. During the time, the capsules were damaged and we did not want to take any risk." "There is no problem in the capsules this time. The capsules have been tested not only in country's lab but also in the laboratory having international standard," said Zahid Malek. In Rangpur, health experts at a press briefing here on Thursday called upon the mass media to make the National Vitamin 'A' Plus Campaign (Second Round)-2019 to be conducted on February 9 (Saturday) successful in the district. The district health administration organised the briefing at conference room of the Civil Surgeon with journalists from print, electronic and online media. The campaign will be conducted under auspices of the Public Health and Nutrition Institute and National Nutrition Services under the Ministry of Health and Family Planning with assistance of UNICEF. Civil Surgeon Dr Abu Md Zakirul Islam briefed the journalists on the preparations to make the campaign for over 3.54-lakh children aged between six months to 59 months successful in the district. Divisional Director (Health) Dr Amal Chandra Saha attended the function as the chief guest while Deputy Civil Surgeon Dr Kaniz Sabiha, Medical Officer Dr Pankaj Mohanta and District Coordinator of Nutrition International Langkesh Barman spoke. The Civil Surgeon said one dose of one lakh unit Vitamin A Blue capsule would be administered to 38,548 babies (6 to 11 months) and one dose two lakh unit Vitamin 'A' Red capsule would be administered to over 3.15-lakh babies (12 to 59 months). Some 4,926 people, including 3,664 volunteers, 697 health workers and 565 family welfare assistants will work at 1,832 outreach centres from 8 am to 4 pm and steps will be taken at bus stands and other places to make the campaign a success. The Civil Surgeon said the campaign would be conducted to reduce death risks of babies, save them from blindness caused by Vitamin 'A' shortage and disseminate knowledge among people about nutritional aspects for children. "Vitamin 'A' effectively prevents mal-nutritional blindness, especially night blindness, bitot's spots and corneal lesions," he said and discussed the importance for continuation of Vitamin A supplementation for the under-five babies. The chief guest said the under-five babies, who were immunised with Vitamin A Plus Capsules anytime during the past four months period, do not need to be immunised during the campaign. He called upon journalists to create mass public awareness to make the campaign successful for preventing various diseases of the under-five babies to ensure their normal growth by increasing disease resistant capacities.

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