Thursday, May 23, 2019

Vitamin A Plus campaign for 22 million children on Saturday

  • Senior Correspondent,
    Published: 2019-02-07 23:51:55 BdST


The government targets to give vitamin A to over 22 million children on Saturday, Feb 9 in a campaign that was deferred due to ‘problems’ in textures of capsules.

Health Minister Zahid Maleque announced the date and targets for the Vitamin A Plus campaign at a press conference on Thursday.

More than 2.5 million children between six months and 11 months will get one blue-coloured capsule while 19.5 million others between 12 months to 59 months will get one high-powered red-coloured dose on that day, according to the minister.

The Vitamin A Plus campaign, which is conducted twice a year in Bangladesh, had been scheduled for Jan 19, but the Institute of Public Health Nutrition halted it citing ‘unavoidable’ reasons.

But officials said they postponed the campaign due to “problems in the textures of the capsules”.

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

State Minister for Health Md Murad Hasan later said the problems were found in red capsules supplied by Aztec Pharmaceuticals, an Indian firm that won the job through a legal battle.

The health minister said on Thursday that the government was investigating the postponement of the campaign.

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 programmes 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.