EPI stands for Expanded Programme on Immunization. It was started worldwide by World Health Organization in 1974. It is the process of increasing the number of vaccines in the vaccinations schedule in order to provide a wider coverage against infectious diseases among the population of the whole country. The EPI schedule in Bangladesh is given below:
EPI SCHEDULE IN BANGLADESH:
At the 6th week of age: BCG, Penta 1, OPV 1, PCV 1
At the 10th week of age: Penta 2, OPV 2, PCV 2
At the 14th week of age: Penta 3, OPV 3, IPV
At the 18th week of age: PCV 3
At 9th completed month: MR (Measles and Rubella)
At 15th completed month: MR (Measles and Rubella)
DETAILS OF EPI VACCINES:
BCG: Bacillus Calmette-Guerin or BCG vaccine is given intradermally to protect the child from Tuberculosis bacillus. The vaccine consists of only one dose, usually given in the latest EPI schedule, from the first day after birth up to the 42nd day (6th week of age). But, it can be given at any time after this period also.
OPV: Oral Polio Vaccine or OPV is given orally to protect the child from Poliomyelitis. The vaccine consists of 3 doses, at the 6th, 10th and 14th weeks of age.
Penta: Penta (means 5) contains 5 vaccines named Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Haemophilus Influenza and Hepatitis-B vaccines. It also consists of 3 doses, given intramuscularly at the same time as OPV.
PCV: Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine or PCV is given intramuscularly in 3 doses at 6th, 10th and 18th week of age. It protects the children from Streptococcus Pneumoniae bacteria which causes Pneumonia.
MR: Measles & Rubella vaccine is given subcutaneously in 2 doses at the end of 9th and 15th months of age to protect the child against these 3 diseases. Previously this vaccine was called MMR (the extra M was for Mumps). Now, the Mumps vaccine is not given. So, the patients of Mumps is increasing day by day.
EPI Schedule has brought an astonishing achievement in the health sector in Bangladesh. Bangladesh has been able to reduce the above-listed diseases to a greater extent than many developed countries in the world. So, we all should follow this schedule and protect our children from these deadly diseases.
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