On December 13-14, 2023, a two-day training workshop for health officials and field workers was conducted under the research program titled ‘Country Learning Hub for Immunisation Equity in Bangladesh’. Presided over by Dr. Abu Salehin Khan, the Doarabazar Upazila Health and Family Planning Officer, the workshop aimed to enhance the skills of local health workers in tackling immunisation challenges. 

Dr. Khan, in his opening address, emphasised the importance of the government’s efforts to make Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) activities self-reliant and online-based through the use of e-tracker systems. He expressed his gratitude to icddr,b for initiating this crucial project, highlighting its timeliness in the current scenario. “This training provided by icddr,b will increase the skills of upazila health workers,” he remarked, setting an encouraging tone for the workshop.

Dr. Md. Sajjad Hossain, Resident Medical Officer of Doarabazar, welcomed the attendees and acknowledged the significant challenges faced in the region. He pointed out that the number of children left unvaccinated in Doarabazar is alarmingly high, largely due to an inaccessible transportation system, especially during the monsoon season, and a shortage of health assistants. Dr. Hossain commended the icddr,b research team for their timely intervention, expressing optimism that the project would ensure no child in Doarabazar is left without vaccination.

Senior Research Investigator from icddr,b, Ms. Tasnuva Wahed, provided an insightful overview of the Country Learning Hub for Immunisation Equity in Bangladesh. She discussed the project’s objectives, its various components, and the specific challenges faced by the immunisation program in the area. Ms. Wahed also elaborated on the process of selecting research areas and the ongoing research activities, setting the stage for a deeper understanding of the project’s scope.

Field Research Officer, Mr. Tajmul Haque, delved into the details of the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) in Bangladesh, discussing the schedule of routine immunisations, national and district-wise coverage, and the critical differences between effective and ineffective vaccinations. He highlighted the post-vaccination side effects and complications, emphasising key messages for parents to ensure a better understanding of the immunisation process.

A significant part of the workshop was dedicated to introducing and training the health workers on upazila-based interventions such as the e-TRACKER system. This system includes e-registration of targeted children, e-messaging, and e-monitoring of vaccination invitations. The trainees were also introduced to e-screening checklists and the expansion of community support group activities, all aimed at strengthening the local immunisation program.

The practical session of the workshop saw Mr. Mustafa Kamal, Programmer at icddr,b, providing hands-on training on the ‘E-Screening Checklist’ app. Trainees received the app on their tablets and Android phones, learning to navigate its features and functionalities to better screen and monitor vaccination candidates.

In his closing remarks, Dr. Md. Abu Salehin Khan urged all present—EPI Officers, Medical Officers, Nurses, Midwives, Sub-Assistant Community Medical Officers, and Community Health Care Providers—to work diligently from their respective positions to identify and vaccinate children who are either zero-dose or under-immunised.

Before concluding the workshop, a project management committee was formed with the Civil Surgeon as the president and the Upazila Health and Family Planning Officer as the member secretary. This committee will oversee the implementation of the ‘Implementation Research’ project under the Country Learning Hub for Immunisation Equity in Bangladesh in Doarabazar. 

This training workshop marks a crucial step in addressing the immunisation gap in Doarabazar, bringing hope that every child in the upazila will receive the life-saving vaccinations they need. 


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