Friday, August 26, 2011

Uganda Eliminates Tetanus!

With the depressing reality of famine in the Horn of Africa, there is a sliver of good news in Uganda. The country announced that it has eliminated maternal and neonatal tetanus through a vaccinations campaign for women of childbearing age.

Tetanus is a potentially deadly infection that can occur if a baby's umbilical cord is cut with unclean tools or if a harmful substance is applied to the cord. In many African countries applying ash or cow dung to umbilical cords is a traditional practice and can be highly dangerous. When tetanus develops, child death rates are very high.

So how did Uganda move past this? According to a report from UNICEF between 2002 and 2009, 25 high risk districts in Uganda were targeted for intervention, and close to two million women received three doses of tetanus vaccines in those areas.

In 2010, Uganda had reported that it eliminated the disease. This year a validation survey tok place and confirmed Uganda's elimination campaign as successful!

-Gabrielle Gurian