A rubella and polio vaccination campaign for 1.5 lakh children of Rohingya refugees started in Ukhia and Teknaf upazilas of Cox’s Bazar this morning as Bangladesh sees an influx of people fleeing persecution in Myanmar.
All the children, aged between six months and 15 years, will be vaccinated for rubella (measles), said Cox’s Bazar Civil Surgeon Dr Abdus Salam told The Daily Star over phone.
Children below five years will be administered polio vaccines while six-month-old to five-year-old children will be provided vitamin A capsules, the civil surgeon said.
“Most of the children of the Rohingyas are either not vaccinated or poorly vaccinated. So, we decided to conduct the vaccination,” he told The Daily Star by phone.
“We have found four children suffering from rubella,” Dr Abdus Salam said.
According to Unicef, over 200,000 of the estimated 400,000 Rohingyas who fled violence in Myanmar to Bangladesh since August 25 are children.
They are facing challenges of food, nutrition, shelter, water and sanitation. Many of the children are traumatized, are malnourished and weak after traveling a long and treacherous way from Rakhine to Bangladesh.
Health personnel from Rohingya camp areas in Ukhia and Teknaf said rising number of people, mostly children, are visiting the health facilities with diarrhea, fever, cold and skin diseases.
Led by the civil surgeon, doctors and nurses of the public hospital with support from the UN agencies, international and national NGOs are conducting the programme.
“We have already got all the supplies necessary from the government and non-government agencies, and mobilized additional health personnel from neighboring upazilas to conduct the vaccination campaign,” said Dr Abdus Salam.