China's health officials have covered one-third of the country's children in a five-year programme to fight hepatitis B.
More than 11 million children in 1,301 counties of central and western China are now protected through immunization against hepatitis B, said Jiang Zuojun, the Vice-Minister for Health.
AdvertisementThe health officials will have to quicken their pace to reach the remaining two-thirds by the scheduled deadline next year.
The 76 million US dollar project, co-funded by the Chinese Government and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI), began in 2002, the year the government included hepatitis B in their routine childhood immunization programme.
The campaign while focusing on children below the age of 5 years, includes 6 million newborns annually, and has had a good coverage, from babies born in hospitals, to those born in the tents of nomadic herds.
China's endeavor is a model for countries struggling to contain the spread of the dreaded hepatitis- B virus and other preventable diseases.