In order to reduce rates of childhood death, UNICEF supports immunization, child illness management and injury-prevention programmes.
UNICEF continues to support nationwide immunization drives against measles, tetanus, hepatitis, polio and other childhood diseases. Progress is encouraging:
88 per cent of children under the age of one are vaccinated against measles, compared to 77 per cent in 2004.
Bangladesh regained polio-free status after an imported case was discovered in 2006.
Rates of neonatal tetanus are declining, with only 152 cases reported in 2008.
UNICEF works with the World Health Organization and the Government to increase access to vaccines in 15 low-performing districts. Activities include cold-chain management for local health services and social mobilization programmes that encourage families to bring all children for the full series of immunizations.
Encouraging families to seek treatment for sick children, particularly those suffering symptoms of pneumonia, infection, diarrhoea, malaria or malnutrition, is extremely important. UNICEF supports behaviour change campaigns and social mobilization activities to raise public awareness of the risks to child health. The number of children under the age of five who are taken to health-care providers when suffering symptoms of pneumonia increased from 20 to 30 per cent between 2004 and 2007.
In order to improve the standard of care available to children at health facilities, UNICEF provides new equipment, trains staff and improves patient management systems. UNICEF supports the integrated management of childhood illness in over 200 health facilities at sub-district level. UNICEF currently supports projects in almost 300 sub-district health facilities for the integrated management of childhood illness. In these facilities, the quality of care improved by 50 per cent between 2006 and 2007.