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Stepping up efforts to curtail the ongoing diphtheria outbreak in Cox’s Bazar, WHO and UNICEF are working with Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to vaccinate over 350,000 children in the Rohingya camps and makeshift settlements with an additional dose of diphtheria vaccine.
“An additional dose of diphtheria vaccine is expected to further boost immunity of vulnerable children and help restrict diphtheria.
The campaign started yesterday and is planned to be completed on 8 February.
To ensure all children in the target age group are vaccinated, over 2,000 community volunteers, imams
“We have procured more than 400,000 doses of diphtheria vaccines to cover the Rohingya children, health practitioners, volunteers and staff who are working in the camps. Currently, health workers strive to control the outbreak with antibiotics and vaccines, and to provide needed treatment to those who are infected. We expect to see reduced numbers of diphtheria cases when the effect of the mass immunization drives sets in,” said Mr. Edouard Beigbeder,
Earlier, over half a million children were immunized in the first diphtheria vaccination campaign held in the Rohingya camps and makeshift settlements in December, and in host communities earlier this year. A third diphtheria vaccination campaign is planned to start four weeks after completion of the ongoing drive. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, WHO, UNICEF and partners are working to establish routine childhood vaccination services against life-threatening disease in
So far, 4,800 suspected cases of diphtheria and 35 deaths have been reported in Cox’s Bazar. Thirty-seven of the suspected cases were in host communities. An estimated 688,000 Rohingyas
Vaccinating vulnerable populations against diphtheria is one key component of the outbreak response, which also focuses on early detection of suspected cases, providing appropriate treatment, and tracing patients’ contacts and giving them preventive medication and vaccine.
WHO is coordinating and supporting the overall diphtheria response with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. WHO has provided guidelines and trainings to partners and health workers on the detection and clinical