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Money charged against free measles-rubella vaccination

Ahmed Shatil Alam

A woman is locked in an argument with the health workers in a measles-rubella vaccination campaign at Baridhara in Dhaka as the parents alleged the health workers demanded money for the free vaccines.— Ali Hossain MintuA woman is locked in an argument with the health workers in a measles-rubella vaccination campaign at Baridhara in Dhaka as the parents alleged the health workers demanded money for the free vaccines.— Ali Hossain Mintu

One of the vaccination centers at Bhatara in the capital charged money for measles-rubella vaccination while it was meant to be free of costs.
The government launched the campaign to give vaccine to children aged between nine months and 15 years on January 25, targeting eradication of child mortality rate. 
New Age on Monday found that Maa O Shishu Unnyan Shoayok Shangstha, a non-government organisation, was charging Tk 30 from the parents for each vaccine at a makeshift vaccination centre at the office of former Vatara Union Parishad chairman Mojammel Hossain.
Hundreds of local people told New Age that the organisation had so far taken charges for about 500 children without any money receipt.
Locals have alleged that when they refused to provide money, people at the vaccination centre did not provide them with any vaccine.
A guardian, Najma Akhter, said her boy did not get any vaccine as she could not afford the money.
Sipra Sarker, another guardian, alleged that the immunisation workers were using a single syringe for administering the vaccine to a number of children.
Maa O Shishu Unnyan Shoayok Shangstha president Hasan Ali agreed the fact of charging money while denied the other allegation.
‘Sometimes we have to charge money to bear our expenses as Health ministry does not give us any financial support,’ he said.
The assistant director of Expanded Programme on Immunisation, Tajul Islam A Bari, said they were not aware of the issue.
Tajul also said they would investigate the matter.
Vatara Police subinspector M Shahidul Islam said they raided the vaccination centre and seized Tk 3,460 and held six people for charging money Monday afternoon.
According to the officials at Directorate General of Health Services, under the campaign government has planned to administer one dose of measles-rubella vaccine to 5.20 crore children aged between nine months and below 15 years for free till February 13.

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A woman is locked in an argument with the health workers in a measles-rubella vaccination campaign at Baridhara in Dhaka as the parents alleged the health workers demanded money for the free vaccines.— Ali Hossain Mintu
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