Bangladesh launches probe into faulty vitamin drive


Dhaka : Authorities in Bangladesh have launched an investigation into the reported death of a baby and illnesses among 400 other children following a nationwide administration of Vitamin A and de-worming medicines, media reports said Tuesday.

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The health ministry Monday formed a five-member committee to probe the illnesses and report its results within two days.

The ministry also urged parents not to panic, and assured them the Vitamin A capsule is not harmful for children, according to report in Prothom Alo newspaper.

“The Vitamin A-plus drive, which has been running for over three decades, is an effective and successful one,” Health Minister AFM Ruhal Haque told reporters.

“The department of health has taken up the issue with urgency, whatever the cause might be, due to the concern among guardians.”

Around 20 million children aged between one and five years were given the Vitamin A-plus capsules, and 19 million aged two to five received de-worming tablets in Saturday’s nationwide drive.

The Daily Star newspaper reported that a six-year-old child died in the central district of Munshiganj Sunday. The child’s family claimed their daughter fell ill soon after taking the medicines, the report said.

It added that more than 400 children fell ill across the country, allegedly from after-affects of the vitamins and de-worming tablets supplied by a local pharmaceuticals company.

Meanwhile, a local investigating agency in Faridpur dismissed officials at Char Bhadrasan health complex after the medicines were administered two days ahead of Saturday’s national drive.

The first reports of children falling ill came from that area Thursday, sparking panic among parents in other regions.