Vaccination campaign to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus kicks off in Burkina Faso
Over 492,128 girls and women between the ages of 15 to 49 are being vaccinated against Maternal and Neonatal tetanus (MNT) during a vaccination drive in seven high-at-risk districts in Burkina Faso from 26 to 30 May 2011. MNT is a painful disease that can threaten the lives of mothers and newborns.
Following the World Summit for Children in 1990, Burkina Faso, like many other countries around the world made a commitment to eliminating the disease in 2005 through routine EPI immunization activities for pregnant women and children, combined with supplementary rounds of immunization to protect women of childbearing age.
In Kaya, a high-at-risk district located in the centre north region of Burkina Faso, 115,398 people will be vaccinated as part of this campaign. Staff at the local clinic in the village of Poulallé, aim to protect 1,124 people against this disease. Fati Sawadogo, a 32 years old woman is one of them. She has two sons aged 15 and 9 and two daughters of 5 and 7 months. She is not stranger to the tetanus vaccine. This is, in fact, the third time she has come to the clinic to be vaccinated against MNT.
"I came here this morning because whenever I see a crowd in front of the clinic, my first instinct is to find out if vaccination is taking place. I speak to people to find out who is being vaccinated and how long the campaign will last,” Fati says. In her opinion, vaccination helps keep her family healthy. “It is very important to be in good health”, she affirms.
Fati made sure she and her children were vaccinated against MNT during the two previous campaigns. “In our village we are often exposed to rusty objects. We sometimes get injured by our carts, hoes, machetes and other sharp tools which we use to cultivate. By getting vaccinated, we protect ourselves. Vaccination also allows pregnant women to protect their newborn baby.” she says
Pegedwendé, a 16 years old secondary school student is very happy that the MNT vaccination campaign is reaching her village of Pissila, which is also located in Kaya district. “When we are vaccinated three times, we are immunized for five years and when we are vaccinated five times we are protected against tetanus for 10 years. That is why I have come here with a group of friends to be vaccinated,” she explains. Pegedwendé and other young women like her are being targeted in this campaign which seeks to mobilize secondary school students to get vaccinated.
For 24-year-old Abséta Ouédraogo, a mother of three from Ziga, the campaign in Ziga has allowed her to be vaccinated for the third time against maternal and neonatal tetanos. “As women we are very much exposed to tetanus,” she says with concern in her eyes. “In our villages many women give birth at home and the conditions in which they deliver are not the best. The umbilical cord is often cut with a razor blade that has not been sterilized or with a rusty knife. That means there is serious risk of tetanus endangering the health of women and babies,” she says.