The government will start administering oral cholera vaccines to the residents of six high cholera-prone areas in the capital today as cholera remains a risk for Bangladesh.
As part of the vaccination programme, people above one year old in Mohammadpur, Adabar, Darussalam, Lalbagh, Kamrangir Char and Hazaribagh would be administered the first round of the oral cholera vaccine from February 19 to 25. The second dose would be administered one month later.
People could get the vaccine from 8:00am to 4:00pm at 360 immunisation centres in the areas.
‘We will request the residents in the areas to come to the immunisation centres. This vaccine is totally free,’ said Health Services director for communicable disease Shahnila Ferdous.
‘We will administer oral cholera vaccine to all people in phases, but we are starting the vaccination programme with six high cholera-prone areas in Dhaka,’ she said at a press conference at the Directorate of Health Services.
About 6.64 crore people in Bangladesh are at the risks of getting infected with cholera as 3-5 people per 1,000 suffer from the water-borne disease in the country, Shahnila said citing surveys.
‘We are among the eight high cholera burden country. We are starting the vaccination programme with support from World Health Organisation, GAVI, UNICEF and the ICDDR,B,’ she said.
‘We were unaware that so many people get infected with cholera in our country,’ Shahnila said.
‘We often regarded cholera patients as diarrhea patients,’ she said, adding that the systematic surveillance of the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh found that about 20 per cent of the diarrhea patients were actually cholera infected.
Shahnila said Bangladesh formulated a National Cholera Control Plan in 2019 as per the WHO’s Global Task Force on Cholera Control target of eliminating the disease by 2030.
ICDDR,B senior scientist Firdausi Qadri said that the six areas in Dhaka city were selected for the programme analysing the high rate of hospitalisation with cholera from the areas.
Qadri said that improved water, sanitation and hygiene were crucial alongside the vaccination to eliminate cholera that causes severe watery diarrhoea, which can lead to dehydration and even death if untreated.
Cholera is caused by eating food or drinking water contaminated with the bacteria called Vibrio Cholerae.
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