422Published on January 2, 2021
According to a recent report by the UNICEF Bangladesh, the Awami League Government was able to successfully conduct a nationwide campaign for administering Vitamin A Plus: 97% of the target age group or 20.8 million (more than 2 Crore) children received their dosage of Vitamin A Plus from October 4 to 17, with careful planning and additional safety measures ensured as a result of the Covid-19.
The campaign was held over a period of 12 days in 2020, instead of the usual single-day arrangement, to avoid large crowds at the distribution centres and to maintain the health and safety rules for Covid-19.
The health workers and volunteers ensured infection prevention control practices, including appropriate mask use, physical distancing and handwashing facilities.
The total number of distribution centres was 120,000, the number of health workers was about 240,000, and the number of health service providers was about 40,000.
‘The campaign was adapted to ensure safety for health workers, children and parents while achieving remarkable coverage. This is an important win for children in Bangladesh’, commented Tomoo Hozumi, the UNICEF Representative in Bangladesh.
UNICEF helped the government by developing guidelines and communications materials to ensure a safe roll-out in the context of Covid-19, and technical support for real-time monitoring and reporting. It also distributed 360,000 masks to health workers and volunteers.
The Vitamin A Plus campaign has helped Bangladesh achieve tremendous success in addressing malnutrition among children. Bangladesh made significant progress in reducing malnutrition among children in recent years, reducing child stunting from 41% to 31% between 2011 and 2018.
The extra efforts from the government, health workers, volunteers and development partners as regards the Vitamin A Plus campaign in 2020 ensured that Covid-19 did not roll back on the progress already made.