Nalitabari Upazila in Sherpur district hosted a three-day training programme under the ‘Country Learning Hub for Immunisation Equity in Bangladesh (CLH-BD)’. With the aim of making the field-level health workers aware of CLH-BD and letting them know their roles and responsibilities, the training was held from November 26-28, 2023.  

Dr. Toufiq Ahmed, the Upazila Health and Family Planning Officer of Nalitabari, presided over the training. Dr. Pradeep Kumar Saha, Director (Health) of Mymensingh Division, attended as the chief guest. Special guests included Dr. Anupam Bhattacharya, Civil Surgeon of Sherpur, Elishay Richhil, Upazila Executive Officer of Nalitabari, and Mohammad Hadiul Islam, Upazila Family Planning Officer of Nalitabari. Additionally, the workshop saw the presence of Dr. Dipanita Banik from WHO and Dr. Nazmul Haque Chowdhury from UNICEF, emphasising the collaborative effort from multiple health organisations. 

In his welcome address, Dr. Toufiq Ahmed thanked the participants and highlighted the importance of the initiative. He expressed gratitude to icddr,b for selecting Nalitabari Upazila under the project. He emphasised the project’s objective to ensure every child receives essential vaccines, addressing gaps in the current immunisation program.  

Following the opening remarks, Md. Wazed Ali, Field Research Manager at icddr,b, provided a comprehensive overview of the CLH-BD. He detailed the project’s objectives, components, and the selection process for research areas, laying the groundwork for the workshop’s activities.  

Dr. Pradeep Kumar Saha, the chief guest, spoke passionately about the project’s motto, ‘No Child Left Out of Vaccination.’ He stressed the importance of identifying zero-dose and under-immunised children and directed attendees to work diligently from their respective positions to vaccinate these children. Dr. Saha assured full support from the health department to ensure the project’s success. 

Dr. Anupam Bhattacharya, the Sherpur District Civil Surgeon, acknowledged the timely nature of the project. He pointed out that a significant challenge in Nalitabari’s immunisation efforts is the shortage of health assistants. He requested icddr,b’s help in temporarily filling these vacancies to strengthen the field workforce. 

Elishay Richhil, the Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO), encouraged a collaborative effort to bring all missing children under vaccination. He assured the upazila administration’s cooperation in the project. Similarly, Mohammad Hadiul Islam, the Upazila Family Planning Officer, pledged his department’s support in identifying and vaccinating orphaned children. 

The training also focused on practical training. The use of the e-Tracker system, developed by Management Information System (MIS) of Expanded Program of Immunization (EPI) in Bangladesh, UNICEF, and m-Power; was discussed for registering children in selected research areas. The importance of this digital tool was underscored, with a call for requisitioning tablets to facilitate its implementation.  

A pivotal outcome of the workshop was the formation of a Sub-National Committee, led by the Civil Surgeon, to monitor and support the project’s activities. This committee will meet bi-monthly to review progress, provide recommendations, and ensure effective implementation of the research. 

The training sessions, led by experts from icddr,b, WHO, and UNICEF; provided attendees with the knowledge and tools to tackle immunisation challenges. The participants left the workshop equipped and motivated to ensure that no child in Nalitabari Upazila is left without vital immunisations, marking a significant step towards immunisation equity in Bangladesh. 



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