Immunisation programme reaches Rohingya children in Bhasan Char

A health worker inoculates a Rohingya child in Bhasan CharUNB

Rohingya children on Bhasan Char have been receiving vaccinations through a routine childhood immunisation programme, reports UNB.

The programme, which aims to draw the world’s attention to the millions of children still missing out on life-saving vaccines, comes just ahead of World Immunisation Week – celebrated every year in the last week of April.

UNICEF is providing technical and financial assistance to Bangladesh in support of childhood immunisations on Bhasan Char, said the UN agency Thursday.

While Rohingya children have received some vaccinations since arriving on the island through two ad hoc campaigns, this week marks the inauguration of the first regular childhood immunisation programme on the island.

“We have no time to waste. Rohingya refugee children on Bhasan Char need their childhood immunisations or the consequences can be deadly,” said George Laryea-Adjei, UNICEF regional director for South Asia.

“The routine childhood vaccination programme on Bhasan Char follows the government’s national Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI). This includes vaccinations against diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, hepatitis-B, Hib, polio, pneumonia, tuberculosis, measles and rubella,” said Md Shamsul Haque, line director for maternal neonatal child and adolescent health at the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

There are now well over 10,000 children on Bhasan Char.

UNICEF, the UNHCR, WHO and other partners are working together to support the government to deliver health and other services on the island.

“No matter how challenging or remote the setting, we must do everything possible to reach the most at-risk and marginalised boys and girls, regardless of who they are or where they are,” said the UNICEF regional director.

Vaccines remain one of the greatest advances in public health, giving children a fair chance to survive, thrive, walk, play and learn.