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 here:
EPI SCHEDULE IN BANGLADESH:
6th week of age: BCG, Penta 1, OPV 1, PCV 1
10th week of age: Penta 2, OPV 2, PCV 2
14th week of age: Penta 3, OPV 3, IPV
18th week of age: PCV 3
9th completed month: MR (Measles and Rubella)
15th completed month: MR (Measles and Rubella)
DETAILS OF EPI VACCINES:
BCG: First of all, to protect the child from Tuberculosis bacillus, we use Bacillus Calmette-Guerin or BCG vaccine intradermally. 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, you can give at any time after this period also.
OPV: To protect the child from Poliomyelitis, we use Oral Polio Vaccine or OPV. And 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 has 3 intramuscular doses at 6th, 10th and 18th week of age. As a result, 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, MMR was the name of this vaccine (the extra M was for Mumps). Now, the authority has stopped giving Mumps vaccine. So, the patients of Mumps is increasing day by day.
Therefore, EPI Schedule has brought an astonishing achievement in the health sector in Bangladesh. As a result, 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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