Vitamin A plus campaign likely next month

Mohammad Al Amin

20th January, 2019 10:38:58 printer

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is likely to launch the Vitamin A plus campaign countrywide in the first week of February.

The Vitamin A plus campaign was scheduled to begin on Saturday, but the authorities concerned postponed the campaign after receiving reports of defects in some Vitamin A capsules, sources at the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), said.

“We have informed the ministry about Vitamin A plus campaign. The issue might be discussed on Monday. The campaign is likely to be launched in the first week of next month (February),” Prof Dr Abul Kalam Azad, director general (DG) of the DGHS told the daily sun on Sunday.

Earlier on Saturday, he said that they might take a decision in this regard at a meeting at the ministry on Sunday. “But the decision is yet to be finalised,” he said on Sunday.

Abul Kalam Azad informed that 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, the DGHS DG said, “The campaign was postponed after reports of problems in the capsules. We also got reports that some packets got stuck together.”

He informed about formation of a seven-member committee to examine the Vitamin A capsules which was meant for distribution.

Sources at DGHS said that the 7-member committee led by the additional DG of DGHS, Prof Enayet Hussain, had been formed to investigate the problems. “We’ve started our investigation on Sunday and we’ll submit the probe report within a week,” Prof Enayet Hussain told the daily sun.

The Institute of Public Health and Nutrition (IPHN) postponed the Vitamin A plus campaign after reports of defects in Vitamin A capsules. In some areas, the red capsules were found to get stuck together, the officials informed.

The campaign, which was set to cover some 2.2 crore children, would be launched at a convenient date later on, sources said.

“We have postponed the campaign after getting some reports. We didn’t get further instruction regarding holding the campaign. I think it might  be held in the first week of February,” IPHN director Md Yunus said on Sunday.

While speaking at a programme in Kishoreganj on Friday, State Minister for Health Md Murad Hasan admitted about ‘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.

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, IPHN sources added.