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Anti-tetanus drive to eliminate a 'silent killer' in Mauritania

© UNICEF Mauritania/2010/Perez
Aichatou and Fatimetou go to the immunization mobile site

Boumbry, Mauritania, 28 January 2010 - The immunization cards in their hands, the 16-years-old Aichatou and her 32-years-old mother Fatimatou go one more time to the site of vaccination against tetanus which has been installed in the village of Boumbry.

It is the third passage, after those of April and May, 2009. The both women know that are needed inevitably 5 doses to be completely immunized against the disease.

The social mobilisation agent visited their home the day before the campaign to inform them about the arrival of the immunization team and their location. He insisted on the lack of danger and on the importance to complete five doses to be fully immunised.

The next dose will be given next year and the last one a year later. The community agent reminded them of the protection this vaccine offers women against this insidious disease which kills before its identification and its treatment.

The newborn child affected by tetanus can die before its first month of life.

 232.643 women in 8 regions immunized
Health workers appreciated the support given by these agents because they managed to overcome certain resistances and mobilized women thus facilitating vaccinators’ work. Regions with weaker immunization coverage during the previous round were given this support.

From January 7 to 11, 2010, the Ministry of Health, with the UNICEF and WHO support, organized an immunization week against tetanus to benefit of 232.643 women aged 14 to 45 years in 8 regions for the third passage.

The fixed and mobile vaccination teams cover all the districts to reach the maximum of targeted population, especially in the most isolated regions.

These eight regions constitute the second block after the first one which included seven regions where three tours were organized between 2007 and 2008 to support the neonatal and maternal tetanus eradication initiative.

The event was also widely covered by radio and TV spots and the social mobilisation teams.

By Fadila Hamidi



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