Uganda shows that tetanus eradication is possible through well supported and coordinated campaigns

Uganda - © UNICEF/2010/Marc Hofer

© UNICEF/2010/Marc Hofer

In July 2011, Uganda announced that it had eliminated maternal and neonatal tetanus thanks to the efforts of its Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Elimination campaign team. 

Close to two million women in high-risk districts in Uganda were immunised against tetanus during the period 2002–2009. A validation survey carried out in 2011 confirmed the success of the campaign.

Coordinated prevention

Tetanus is one of the most common deadly consequences of unclean births. It is almost always fatal, especially when appropriate medical care is not available. The disease can be prevented by immunising mothers, and by emphasising hygienic delivery and umbilical cord care practices. Although total eradication is not possible, tetanus is considered eliminated when it causes less than 1 death per 1,000 births in one year.

The Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Elimination Initiative, which helped to implement the immunisation campaign in Uganda, is supported by public and private-sector actors including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the GAVI Alliance, PATH, UNICEF, USAID/Immunization Basics and WHO. GAVI has contributed over US$ 61 million to the initiative through funds received from IFFIm.

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