Burkina Faso

Latest round of immunization fights maternal and neonatal tetanus in Burkina Faso

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF Burkina Faso/2011/Bkonate
Pegedwendé (centre), 16, a secondary school student, is happy that the tetanus vaccination campaign has her village, Pissila, in the Kaya District of central-northern Burkina Faso.

By Bouréima Konate

KAYA, Burkina Faso, 19 July 2011 – Maternal and neonatal tetanus, or MNT, is a swift and painful disease that can threaten the lives of mothers and newborns.

That’s why tetanus vaccination drives continue to take place regularly here in Burkina Faso. The latest immunization round covered seven at-risk districts, reaching more than 492,000 girls and women of childbearing age – that is, between the ages of 15 to 49 – in the course of a week.

MNT results mainly from inadequate immunization, 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 and have little access to health care and scant information about safe-delivery practices.

Years of protection

Pegedwendé, 16, a secondary school student, said she was happy that the MNT campaign reached her village, Pissila, in the Kaya District of central-northern Burkina Faso.

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF Burkina Faso/2011/Bkonate
Fati Sawadogo, 32, mother of two sons and two daughters, waits at the village health clinic for her third vaccination against tetanus in Kaya District, Burkina Faso.

“When we are vaccinated three times, we are immune for five years,” she said, “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.”

Secondary school students were among the groups targeted for vaccination this time around.

Following the World Summit for Children in 1990, Burkina Faso and many other countries around the world made a commitment – which was renewed in 2000 – to eliminate MNT through routine immunization activities for pregnant women and children, combined with supplementary rounds of immunization to protect women of childbearing age.

Staying healthy

In Kaya, over 115,000 people were targeted for vaccination in the latest round of the MNT campaign. Fati Sawadogo, 32, is one of them. She has two sons and two daughters, ranging in age from seven months to 15 years, and is no stranger to the tetanus vaccine. This was the third time she came to the health post to be protected against the disease.

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF Burkina Faso/2011/Bkonate
Abséta Ouédraogo, 24, a mother of three from Ziga village, holds one of her children as she waits for her third vaccination against tetanus during the latest round of MNT immunization in Kaya District, Burkina Faso.

“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,” explained Ms. Sawadogo. “It is very important to be in good health.”

Ms. Sawadogo made sure that she and her children were vaccinated against tetanus during the two previous campaigns in the district. She noted that local villagers were especially at risk through exposure 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,” she said.

Risk prevention

Abséta Ouédraogo, 24, a mother of three from Ziga village, pointed out that the campaign was particularly important for women in Kaya.

“In our villages, many women give birth at home and the conditions in which they deliver are not the best,” said Ms. Ouédraogo. “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.”

Now the campaign has allowed her to be vaccinated against tetanus for the third time, ensuring a healthy future for the time being, at least.


 

 

New enhanced search