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After eradicating Polio, India is all set to conquer Tetanus at Birth

India is taking leaps in the public health sector by first gaining the Polio-safe certificate from WHO about a year ago in March, and now it’s on the verge of obtaining the same for Tetanus at childbirth.

The Polio landmark was significant because India accounted for half of the world cases before 2009 and the tetanus eradication makes us equally proud.


Photo for representational purpose only. Source:impatient optimists

Sources from health ministry told Indian Express, “India has expelled maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT) — an infection that at its peak killed an estimated 2 lakh adults and children every year — and is expecting an official certification from WHO within two months.”

India will be among only 23 countries so far to completely get rid of MNT. The measure of this, called the maternal and neonatal tetanus elimination (MNTE), has rates like one case of infection in every thousand live births per year for each Indian district.

A dual team consisting of WHO and UNICEF recently conducted field visits in Jammu and Kashmir, Nagaland and Meghalaya, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli – the last four areas with more than the acceptable levels of infection. It confirmed India’s status as one of the countries to completely get rid of MNT. The inspections yielded positive results and the Health Ministry is expecting the official certificate to come through soon.

It is a big achievement as the infection was responsible for about 15 per cent of the total number of neonatal deaths in the country at one point. This has likely happened because of the increase in institutional deliveries and practices that minimize risk of infection including safe umbilical cord procedures.

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