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Women to undergo tetanus immunisation

12 September 2013, 15:45 Kelvin Wanjohi

Nairobi - The Cabinet Secretary for health James Macharia on Thursday morning launched the Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Campaign, saying that the ministry of Health was committed to the global goal of controlling, eliminating and eradicating vaccine-preventable diseases in the Kenya.

Macharia said that neonatal tetanus is a deadly disease that kills a newborn every nine minutes globally including thousands of women who die during delivery just after the umbilical cord is cut.

He said that less than five percent of neonatal tetanus cases go unreported, and under-reporting has contributed to the large number of deaths.

He acknowledged that though the disease is fatal, can be easily prevented through the immunisation of women before and during pregnancy to protect them against tetanus which would also protect the newborn against the disease in the first few months of life.

“Women and health officers should also practice hygienic births including cutting the umbilical cord with a sterile blade,” He urged.

According to statistics, Kenya is among 51 countries which have not achieved the goal of maternal and neonatal tetanus and this has made the division of Vaccines and Immunization to develop a tetanus elimination strategy which will reduce child mortality rate by two thirds and maternal mortality by 75 percent by 2015.

Macharia also said that the ministry said 30 out of 78 districts were at high risk of maternal and neonatal tetanus. He asserted that he has already instructed health centers to carry three rounds of vaccination targeting women of child bearing age.

The districts targeted include Meru, Kajiado, Laikipia North and West,  Mombasa, Narok, Mandera, Baringo, TransNzoia, Fafi, Koibatek, Baringo North, Eldoret East, Uasin Gishu and several others that are at the risk of high neonatal tetanus.

He urged community leaders, teachers, health workers and religious leaders to ensure communities are well informed and educated about the importance of all immunisations.

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