The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) on Wednesday announced that it would inoculate 23 lakh people in Dhaka with cholera vaccines as a preventive measure against diarrhoea and cholera from May.
Oral vaccines developed for diarrhoea and cholera will be provided in five places – Jatrabari, Dakshinkhan, Mirpur, Mohammadpur and Sabujbag – in the capital marked as "high risk areas".
The country saw four deaths from diarrhoea this year, said Prof Dr Nazmul Islam, director (Disease Control) at the DGHS, at a virtual press briefing on Wednesday morning.
"We have reported four deaths from diarrhoea this year. Outbreaks of diarrhoea are more prevalent in Dhaka and surrounding districts," he said.
Dr Nazmul also noted that citizens aged one and above will receive the vaccine except for pregnant women.
The first dose of the vaccine will be given in May and the second dose in June. The cholera vaccine will be available in certain areas without the registration process.
When asked why the cholera vaccine would not be given across the country, Dr Nazmul Islam said, "There is now a crisis for cholera vaccine. We have been given vaccine consignments cut from the Nigerian allocation due to an outbreak here."
He further said there are more diarrhoea patients in Jatrabari than in other areas due to unsafe water and problems in the water supply line.
According to the icddr,b, the actual number of fatalities from diarrhoea is 29.
In this regard, Dr Nazmul Islam said, "They [icddr,b] have not yet officially given us the information. Once they do, we will analyse it."
He advised people to drink pure water and get treatment at the nearest healthcare facility for diarrhoea.
At the press conference, the DGHS said a total of 70,237 people had been treated for diarrhoea across the country in March. Of them, 36,912 people got treatment in the capital's hospitals.
According to the division-wise data, 660,46 people in Dhaka division, 18,416 people in Chattogram division, 36,209 people in Khulna division, 5,415 people in Barisal, 11,193 people in Sylhet, 12,484 people in Rajshahi, 10,565 people in Rangpur and 9,909 people in Mymensingh went to the hospital with diarrhoea.