Bangladesh is now a ‘role model’ in child vaccination: health minister

  • Senior Correspondent,
    Published: 2019-11-06 19:33:40 BdST


Health Minister Zahid Maleque has said Bangladesh has become a “role model” in child immunisation following the GAVI’s recognition.

He was referring to the ‘Vaccine Hero’ award given to the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation or GAVI in September in New York. The prime minister dedicated the award to the people of Bangladesh.

To celebrate the award, the health ministry, the WHO, and Unicef jointly organised an event in Dhaka on Wednesday where district and divisional-level health officials were also recognised for the vaccine coverage. A cultural function followed.

The health minister said it was not a “small achievement” as many countries could not achieve the desired target of vaccination.

“This (the award) has brightened our image before the world. Now all the field staff who worked relentlessly to make the immunisation programme a success can consider themselves as ‘heros’,” Maleque remarked.

GAVI Board Chair Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala had handed the award to Prime Minister Hasina at the United Nations Headquarters.

She was applauded for the success in immunisation in Bangladesh, especially for her role in eliminating polio and curtailing diphtheria, hepatitis-B and rubella.

“This is an award for those who have set out a clear ambition and displayed urgency to provide life-saving vaccines for children and ensure that no child is left out,” Okonjo-Iweala said in her speech.

“Sheikh Hasina is a true champion of immunisation as well as the rights of children and women’s empowerment,” the

GAVI, a Switzerland-based organisation, also known as the vaccine alliance, works to save the lives of millions of children globally by providing vaccines to them.

Hasina has always promoted the immunisation programme and she is a political leader who opted for different measures to keep the children free from diseases, said GAVI Chief Executive Seth Barkley.

“She is a consistent champion of immunisation,” Barkley had said during the awards ceremony in New York.