The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is likely to finalise a decision on Vitamin A plus campaign on Sunday.
The campaign was postponed after reports of defects in the Vitamin A capsules.“On Sunday, we’ll discuss at our ministry about launching of Vitamin A plus campaign this month,” said Prof Dr Abul Kalam Azad, director general (DG) of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), on Saturday.
He informed the government has another stockpile of sufficient Vitamin A capsules for launching of the campaign scheduled for the month of June. “Now we’ll use the capsules in the next campaign. The capsules have no problem and their expiry date extends till end of 2019,” he said.
Asked about postponement of Vitamin A plus campaign which was scheduled to be held across the country on Saturday, Prof Abul Kalam Azad said, “The campaign was postponed after receiving reports of problems in the capsules. We also got reports that some packets were stuck together.”
He said, “We have already formed a seven-member committee to examine the Vitamin A capsules which was meant for distribution. “The investigation committee will start its work from Sunday and they have been asked to submit the probe report within seven days.”
The DGHS director general said that they did not distribute the capsules as they did not want to take any risk.
Sources at DGHS said that a 7-member committee led by DGHS additional DG Prof Enayet Hussain had been formed to investigate into the problems. The health ministry also formed another committee to this end, sources said.Sources further said the previously postponed Vitamin A capsules distribution campaign is likely to be held in this week.
The Institute of Public Health and Nutrition (IPHN) on Wednesday postponed the Vitamin A plus campaign after reports of defects in Vitamin A capsules. In some areas, the red capsules were found to stuck together, the officials informed.
The campaign, which was set to cover some 2.2 crore children, will be launched at a convenient date later on, sources added.
While speaking at a programme in Kishoreganj on Friday, State Minister for Health Md Murad Hasan admitted the ‘problems’ in Vitamin A capsules resulting in postponement of Saturday’s Vitamin A plus campaign across Bangladesh.
Children aged between six to 11 months get a dose of blue Vitamin A capsule and children aged between 12 to 59 months get a dose of red Vitamin A capsule.
The programme, which began in 1994, is regularly conducted twice a year and the coverage rate is 98 percent across the country and is considered to be ‘massive’. The supplementary nutrition is vital for child growth and development, IPHN sources said.
Supplementary nutrition in the form of Vitamin A capsule is vital for good infant and child health, growth, and development. Vitamin A strengthens children’s immune system, reduce frequency of diarrhoea and measles, and prevent night blindness, sources added.