The Bangladesh measles vaccination campaign to be held for three weeks between February 25 and March 16 will mark the Measles Initiative’s expansion into Asia after recently celebrating the success of the Initiative’s original goal of reducing measles deaths by vaccinating 200 million children in more than 40 African countries, and preventing 1 million children from dying from measles over five years. The Government of Bangladesh launches the largest ever measles campaign next week in an effort to reduce measles deaths and morbidity with support from the Measles Initiative, a partnership led by the American Red Cross, UN Foundation, World Health Organization, UNICEF and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The campaign will be the largest public health undertaking in the history of Bangladesh; approximately 33.5 million children between the ages of nine months and 10 years will be immunized by 50,000 skilled vaccinators and 750,000 mobilized volunteers, through more than 100,000 schools and 150,000 Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) centers. When completed, the Bangladesh campaign will be the largest measles vaccination campaign in history. The largest campaign carried out to date was in Nigeria with 28.5 million children vaccinated.
Supporting the Government of Bangladesh is the Measles Initiative, a partnership originally formed in 2001 to eliminate measles deaths in 36 sub-Saharan African countries. This year begins the Initiative’s expansion into Asia after recently celebrating the success of exceeding the Initiative’s original goal of reducing measles deaths by vaccinating 200 million children in more than 40 African countries, and preventing 1 million children from dying from measles over five years. The financial and technical support provided by the Measles Initiative and the commitment of African governments have resulted in an enormous public health success story; measles deaths have fallen 60 percent between 1999 and 2004 in Africa. This decline provides important progress toward the reaching the goal of reducing measles deaths by 90% by 2010. The Initiative now looks at replicating the success achieved in Africa to Asia. Other measles vaccination campaigns outside of Africa include Banda Aceh, Indonesia (emergency phase after the 2004 tsunami), Nepal and Maldives.
Still photos and b-roll are available from Phase I of the Bangladesh campaign last September. Please visit the press room at www.measlesinitiative.org or contact Julie Irby at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Julie Irby, American Red Cross, Washington, DC +1 202 439 0722 or Brian Hatchell (in Bangladesh) 0094 77 357 6417 or
Drew Strobel (in Bangladesh) 0066 98 92 5074
Elizabeth Alexander, UNF, Washington, DC +1 202 778 1622
Erica Kochi, UNICEF New York +1 212 326 7785
Steven Stewart, CDC, Atlanta +1 404-639-8327
Kirsty McIvor, UNICEF Bangladesh +880173043478
Hayatee Hasan, WHO Geneva +41 22 791 2103
Mari Tikkanen, WHO South-East Asia Region +91 98 104 01 227