|© UNICEF video|
|An adolescent Afghan girl receives a tetanus vaccination outside her home. UNICEF- trained vaccinators visit women of childbearing age in their homes, where 90 per cent of all deliveries take place.|
Maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT) is a swift and painful killer disease that killed 58,000 newborns in 2010 alone. A significant number of women also die to due to maternal tetanus every year.
Maternal and neonatal tetanus represents a very high proportion of the total tetanus disease burden due mainly to inadequate immunization services, limited or absent clean delivery services and improper post-partum cord care. The majority of mothers and newborns dying of tetanus live in Africa and Southern and East Asia, generally in areas where women are poor, have little access to health care, and have little information about safe delivery practices.
Once the disease is contracted, the fatality rate can be as high as 100% without hospital care and between 10% to 60% with hospital care. The true extent of the tetanus death toll is not known as many newborns and mothers die at home and neither the birth nor the death is reported.
Maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT) is easily preventable through:
Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Elimination Initiative:
The World Health Assembly first called for elimination of neonatal tetanus in 1989. In 1999, the goal was expanded to include elimination of the maternal tetanus. At that time, there were 57 countries that had still not eliminated MNT. The figure today stands at 59 with inclusion of Timor Leste in 2002 and South Sudan in 2011.
The goal of the initiative is to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT) through focus on the TT-SIAs. As of January 2013, 29 of these countries had achieved MNT elimination leaving 30 countries that still have not eliminated the disease.
MNT elimination in a country is defined as neonatal tetanus rate of less than one case of neonatal tetanus per 1000 live births in every district of the country. UNICEF and WHO’s role in this global effort is:
Through the joint efforts of partners much progress has been made between 1999 and January 2013:
UNICEF is committed to eliminating MNT as a public health problem, a goal shared by our partners, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA), Becton Dickinson (BD), USAID, CDC, Immunisation Basics, Government of Japan and JICA, Save the Children, GAVI, P&G (Pampers), PATH, RMHC, the Gates Foundation, UNICEF National committees and governments throughout the world. Recently, the Kiwanis International has joined the partnership.
Stories from the Field
The Silent Killer
A Joint Strategy
The UNICEF/WHO/UNFPA strategy for elimination of maternal and neonatal tetanus published in 2000, identified 57 countries that had to eliminate the disease.
Progress on MNT Elimination
As of January 2013,