National Vitamin-A Plus campaign would be observed on December 23 across the country to feed vitamin-A Plus capsule to over 2.21 crore children aged between six months to 59 months to prevent childhood blindness and reduce child mortality.
Under the campaign, children aged between six months and 11 months will be given capsule with blue color while children aged between 12 and 59 months will be administered with red color capsule on the day, Health and Family Welfare Minister Mohammad Nasim said while inaugurating the National Vitamin- A Plus campaign at Dhaka Shishu Hospital in the city.
Director of Dhaka Shishu Hospital Prof Dr Manjur Hossain, heads of relevant organizations and senior officials and physicians, among others, addressed the function.
Nasim said health workers and volunteers will feed the vitamin-A Plus capsules from 1.20 lakh permanent and 20 thousand mobile centres across the country which will remain open from 8 am to 4 pm. He said mobile centres will be set up at bus stops, airports and launch terminals and other transport points to administer the children vitamin-A plus capsules.
Nasim said, "We want to prevent childhood blindness by administering vitamin-A plus capsule. Blindness problem has been reduced significantly in the country through launching vitamin A plus campaign. Less than one percent children now suffer from blindness for vitamin A deficiency."
Bangladesh has been lauded as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has given shelter to several lakhs of Rohingyas on humanitarian ground after beginning of the latest round of Rohingya influx since August this year.
"We are giving foods, shelters along with healthcare services.... But this huge exodus of Rohingya has created a challenge for Bangladesh because many of them are affected by different diseases including AIDS."
Seeking global supports to reach permanent solution to the Rohingya issue, Nasim said Bangladesh is carefully dealing with Rohinga people, who are infected by different diseases as the country has remained in good position in different indicators of health.
Prof Manjur said less than one percent children now suffer from blindness problem while the percentage of blindness for vitamin A deficiency was 3.74 in 1974. "With sincere efforts of the government, we have been able to reduce blindness problem," he added.
The impact of vitamin-A deficiency is not limited to only blindness, Prof Manjur said adding it increases death risk by causing various diseases.
"We are feeding vitamin A plus capsule two times a year as it deposits up to six months in children's body. Alongside having vitamin A plus capsule, guardians should feed their children natural foods including vegetable and fish to avoid vitamin A deficiency," he added.
Other speakers said vitamin A is needed for children to prevent blindness problem as well as other diseases related to eye.
Infants should be given breast milk within one hour of their births as it contains a large percentage of protein, mineral and vitamin, which greatly will help improve their immune system, they added.