In a groundbreaking study set to be published by The Lancet, it’s revealed that global immunisation endeavours have rescued an estimated 154 million lives over the course of the past five decades. This colossal achievement, equivalent to averting six fatalities every minute, underscores the unparalleled impact of vaccines in safeguarding public health.

Bangladesh, nestled in South Asia, has been a beneficiary of these life-saving interventions, particularly in the realm of child immunisation. With concerted efforts from local health authorities and international organisations, the nation has witnessed a substantial reduction in infant mortality rates attributable to preventable diseases.

Among the vaccines administered in Bangladesh, the measles vaccination stands out as a pivotal contributor to reducing infant mortality. This vaccine alone has accounted for a significant portion of lives saved globally, underscoring its indispensable role in the country’s immunisation landscape.

Since the inception of the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) in 1979, Bangladesh has made significant strides in bolstering immunisation coverage. Initially targeting diseases like diphtheria, measles, pertussis, polio, tetanus, tuberculosis, and smallpox, the program has expanded its ambit to encompass a broader spectrum of vaccine-preventable ailments.

At its genesis, the EPI reached a mere fraction of infants in Bangladesh, reflecting a global trend of limited access to routine immunisation. However, through sustained efforts, the country has substantially improved coverage rates, with 84% of infants now protected with three doses of the DTP vaccine, a global benchmark for immunisation coverage.

Despite these advancements, challenges persist. In 2022, approximately 33 million children globally missed a measles vaccine dose, with Bangladesh contributing to this statistic. Ensuring universal coverage remains imperative to shield communities from outbreaks and bolster overall public health resilience.

Organisations like UNICEF have played a pivotal role in fortifying Bangladesh’s immunisation infrastructure. As one of the largest procurers of vaccines globally, UNICEF facilitates the distribution of over 2 billion doses annually, ensuring even remote communities have access to life-saving immunisation services.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, emphasised the criticality of sustained investment and collaboration to perpetuate these life-saving gains. Bangladesh, along with other nations, stands poised to capitalise on the momentum generated by half a century of immunisation progress.

In Bangladesh, as in many parts of the world, the next frontier of immunisation entails not only reaching children missed during the pandemic years but also extending protection to adolescents and adults. The collective endeavour to safeguard public health through vaccination remains as vital as ever, underscoring the ethos of global solidarity in the face of health challenges.


Global immunization efforts have saved at least 154 million lives over the past 50 years [Internet]. [cited 2024 May 8]. Available from:


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