WHO and UNICEF to collaborate with Bangladesh to vaccinate 475, 000 Rohingya children against diphtheria

Dhaka: As part of an intensified response to the current diphtheria outbreak, WHO, UNICEF and health sector partners are working with Bangladesh's health ministry to vaccinate more than 475,000 children in Rohingya refugee camps and temporary settlements.

"All efforts are being made to stop further spread of diphtheria. The vaccination of children in the Rohingya camps
and nearby areas demonstrates the health sector's commitment to protecting people, particularly children, against deadly diseases," said Dr Bardan Jung Rana, WHO representative to Bangladesh.

Rohingya refugee women and children gather at a refugee camp. Reuters

Rohingya refugee women and children gather at a refugee camp. Reuters

Nearly 150,000 children aged six weeks to seven years received pentavalent vaccine (that protects against
diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, haemophilus influenza type B and hepatitis B), and nearly 166,000 children aged seven to 17 years were given tetanus and diphtheria (Td) vaccine, during a three-week vaccination campaign that ended on 31 December.

Two more rounds of vaccination with a diphtheria-containing vaccine, at intervals of one month, are planned to fully protect the children in camps and surrounding areas. "Children are particularly vulnerable to diphtheria.

Volunteers are making door-to-door visits in the Rohingya settlements to ensure all children receive vaccination.

"The massive influx within a very short time has heavily affected basic services in the settlement areas. They have no
choice but to live in a very congested environment, which is impacting their health and quality of life. We are making
continued efforts to improve conditions of the camps," UNICEF country representative Edouard Beigbeder said.

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Updated Date: Jan 14, 2018 16:50:59 IST

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