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Vitamin-A plus campaign underway in Bangladesh

40The ‘Vitamin-A plus’ campaign has begun across Bangladesh with children between six months and five years being fed a life-saving capsule.

At least 120,000 permanent health outposts and 20,000 more mobile centres at different terminals will remain operative until 4pm to reach the target of 21 million children.

Children between six months and 11 months will get one blue coloured capsule while those between 12 months to 59 months will get one high-powered red coloured dose.

Awareness messages on exclusive breastfeeding for the children in their first six months of life will also be distributed during the campaign.

Though the campaign begins at 8am, Health Minister Mohammed Nasim will officially inaugurate it after 10am at the ICDDR-B office in Dhaka.

Supplementary nutrition in the form of a vitamin A capsule is vital for good infant and child health, growth, and development.

This is also accepted as an essential part of child survival programs as one capsule of vitamin A given at least twice a year to children 6 to 59 months of age can reduce under-5 child mortality by 24 percent.

Vitamin A strengthens children’s immune system, reduce frequency of diarrhea and measles, and prevent night blindness.

Bangladesh has cut night blindness to 0.04 percent in recent years from 3.76 percent in 1982 through this campaign.

State minister for health Zahid Maleque in a press briefing on Thursday urged all parents to take their children to the campaign centres. “We want to ensure 100 percent coverage”.

He said a control room at every upazilla would monitor the campaign as an earlier campaign was marred by the rumours of deaths after being fed the vitamin.

Liquid vitamin A is squeezed into child’s mouth by cutting off the tip of the capsule.