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Young child survival and development

UNICEF, Pampers and Salma Hayek take aim at maternal and newborn tetanus elimination

© UNICEF Geneva/2008
Actress and spokesperson for the Pampers-UNICEF ‘One Pack = One Vaccine’ campaign Salma Hayek holds a copy of a global review that says tetanus in mothers and their newborns can be eliminated by 2012.

GENEVA, Switzerland, 6 October 2008 – A global review confirms that the elimination of maternal and newborn tetanus – a preventable disease responsible for the death of one baby approximately every three minutes and up to 30,000 mothers each year – could be achieved by 2012.

The review, entitled ‘Participate, Vaccinate, Eliminate: Together Against Maternal and Newborn Tetanus’, was released in Geneva last week. It encourages the public to participate in a high-profile effort to help those most at risk.

“The thought of losing a child to a disease which can be easily prevented seems unbearable, especially when it is within our power to prevent it. If you knew how to help save a child’s life, what could stop you?” said actress Salma Hayek, spokesperson for the Pampers-UNICEF ‘One Pack = One Vaccine’ campaign.

200 million vaccines in three years

Through the campaign, Procter & Gamble, an international corporate partner of UNICEF, is donating the cost of one dose of tetanus vaccine (equivalent to about 7 cents) for every specially marked pack of Pampers products sold.

© UNICEF Sierra Leone/2008
Salma Hayek on a visit to Sierra Leone, where she witnessed firsthand the impact of tetanus vaccination efforts supported by UNICEF and its corporate partner, Procter & Gamble.

‘One Pack = One Vaccine’ has already raised funding for more than 50 million tetanus vaccines. In its latest phase – which is raising funds from purchases made between 1 October and 31 December – the campaign is expected to support vaccines for another 70 million women of child-bearing age, and their newborn babies, in 27 target countries out of the 46 where maternal and newborn tetanus remains a public health problem.

The aim is to raise funding for an additional 200 million vaccines over the next three years.

“It is a privilege for Pampers to be part of a campaign that can help eliminate a global disease,” said P&G’s Vice President for Baby Care in Western Europe, Austin Lally. “It is only by working in partnership that we can hope to meet some of the enormous health care challenges that we face in the world today.”

Continued support needed

Despite these global efforts and the progress they have made to date, the global review emphasizes that tetanus elimination is an ongoing process requiring continued support.

Cases of maternal and newborn tetanus result 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 South and East Asia.

“It is unacceptable to see a disease that has disappeared from the industrialized world still occur in less industrialized countries,” said UNICEF Senior Health Specialist Dr. François Gasse. “Maternal and newborn tetanus [fatalities] are deaths that we shouldn’t be talking about in this day and age.”

Added UNICEF Director of Private Fundraising and Partnerships Philip O’Brien: “Maternal and neonatal tetanus deaths are part of the loss of millions of lives each year. This is unacceptable, and there is still much to do. The challenge is to scale up what is proving successful. Innovative partnerships such as this one can help UNICEF achieve those objectives.”



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