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Author Topic: UNICEF puts Nigeria in race to eliminate tetanus  (Read 11915 times)
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Francis Umeoguaju
Expert in Bioscience Issues
Posts: 657

« on: June 04, 2011, 01:29:29 pm »

The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) with support from the government of Japan has launched and sustained a campaign aimed at eliminating tetanus in Nigeria.
The campaign tagged Maternal and Neonatal Elimination (MNTE) Campaign, aims to obliterate and possibly eliminate the prevalence and incidence of tetanus among women and newborns in the country within the shortest possible time.
It is riding on the successes recorded by the various immunisation campaigns across the country to prevent women, especially those of child bearing age and neonates (newborns) from being infected and developing the country as the case may be.  The campaign is already enjoying the support of the government of Japan, which has supported Child survival programmes in Nigeria with millions of Euros-worth funding.   
The programme has already been piloted in Rivers, Ogun, and Abia States, where the various governments are making efforts to raise awareness on the disease among women. 

Speaking on this, UNICEF consultant on immunisation, Mr. Stan Osum, said Rivers State, due to her strategic location and rapid urbanization was among the first three States to benefit from the first round of phase one of MNTE campaign as approved for implementation by the Federal Government of Nigeria. Ogun and Abia States were also beneficiaries. 
Speaking on the objective of the campaign, Osum said, “The campaign is intended to achieve Elimination of Maternal Neonatal Tetanus by vaccinating and protecting more than 80 per cent of Women of child bearing age, with at least, three potent doses of Tetanus Toxoid Vaccine.”

He said it is also to maintain elimination through strengthening and sustaining at least 80 per centr coverage of Tetanus Toxoid 2 vaccine (TT2) in all the LGAs and the achievement of a rate of  less than one case of neonatal Tetanus per 1000 Live Births in every Local Government Area.
According to the National Programme on Immunization Schedule, a woman of Child-bearing age (15-49 years) must have five doses of the Tetanus Toxoid (TT) vaccine to attain full protection against the disease. While the first contact with the vaccine (TT-1) is presumed to offer no tangible immunity against the disease, TT-2 offers its recipient immunity spanning three years and is usually given at least 4 weeks after TT-1. 

TT-3 is given at least six months after TT-2 or during subsequent pregnancy and offers immunity to the client for 5 years. TT-4 offers its recipient immunity spanning 10 years and is usually given at least 1 year after TT-3 or during subsequent pregnancy.  TT-5 offers its recipient immunity against tetanus for the rest of her child-bearing years and is usually given at least 1 year after TT-4 or during subsequent pregnancy. 

Director of Primary Health in Rivers State, Dr. Akuro Okujagu, told Daily Independent that the state has been a major beneficiary of the campaign since it was piloted in 2009.
The first round of phase one MNTE was conducted in Rivers State on November 8 – 12, 2009, the second round of phase one MNTE campaign was implemented in the State from 6 – 10th December 2009. 
The Director of Primary Health Care said, the incidence of tetanus in children and women of child-bearing  age is fast becoming a tale of the past in the state of Rivers. 

He, however, thinks the current campaign would provide a good platform for routine immunisation against Tetanus among women in the country.
“Campaigns have done well to popularise the culture of immunisation in the country. But it is time we move to institutionalise the culture of routine immunisation,” Okujagu said. 
He added, UNICEF and other partners have really been supportive of the efforts of the government at ridding the state of tetanus and other vaccine-preventable diseases, concluding, “Although cases of tetanus have become reduced in Rivers, it is our desire to achieve zero case in the next few years.”

In the November 2009 round, a total of 1,293,765 women of reproductive age were vaccinated against tetanus in a target population of 1,289,799 (104 per cent) while in December 2009, a total of 1,299,345 women of Child bearing age were vaccinated.
The exercises were conducted in all 319 wards of the State. All women of child bearing eligible for vaccination were administered a dose of tetanus toxoid vaccination. The campaigns were conducted using fixed post (health facilities) and mobile fixed post strategies. Vaccines for routine immunization were provided in all health facilities thus providing opportunity for eligible infants to receive vaccinations following the routine immunization schedule.

Following the successful completion of the first and second round of the Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Elimination (MNTE) campaign in Rivers State, the third round was embarked upon between August 21, and 25, 2010 to round off the campaign in Rivers state, just like in the other two pilot states of Ogun and Abia. 
A target population of 1,261,149 women of child bearing age was considered for this round of the campaign. The campaign was successful with a total of 1,141,282 WCBA vaccinated and a coverage of 90 per cent. The successful completion of this round marks the end of the Phase one of the maternal and neonatal tetanus Elimination campaign commenced in 2009 in Nigeria.   
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