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Tackling tetanus in Yemen
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 13 - 06 - 2011

In Yemen, approximately 77 percent of births occur in homes and without the presence of skilled midwives, increasing the risk of neonatal tetanus among mothers and newborns.
Pampers has joined hands with UNICEF in their fight to eliminate Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus (MNT) in Yemen. The global campaign, “1 Pack = 1 Life saving vaccine” has already helped protect 100 million women and their babies from MNT since 2006.
Continuing their journey towards eliminating maternal and neonatal tetanus, UNICEF and Pampers Arabia have focused this global campaign in the Arabian Peninsula this year to where it is needed the most: Yemen.
UNICEF estimated in 2000 that seven percent of neonatal mortality is likely caused by Neonatal Tetanus in light that global mortality rate for those affected ranges between 70 to 100 percent. In Yemen, approximately 77 percent of births occur in homes and without the presence of skilled midwives, increasing the risk of neonatal tetanus among mothers and newborns at a rate much higher than in countries where pregnant women have access to well equipped health care facilities.
According to the most recent World Health Organization figures, MNT is responsible for the deaths of 59,000 newborn babies every year globally. As of the end of 2010, 170 million women and babies in 40 countries were still at risk from MNT. However, since then, there has been great news in that Myanmar, with support from Pampers funding, has been validated by WHO as having eliminated MNT.
According to Dr. Arwa Baider, Child Health Officer at UNICEF in Yemen: “Most people had never heard of maternal and neonatal tetanus before this campaign was announced. MNT is a silent killer that kills a baby every nine minutes globally. Most of the deaths take place at home and occur among the hardest to reach, most vulnerable populations. Yet, the reality of MNT is that it's easily preventable – which is why the futility of even one single fatality is an unbearable truth.”
Tetanus is caused by bacteria entering the body through open wounds and is transmitted from mother to child when there is contact with broken skin, such as an infant's umbilical cord.
Babies born with tetanus may take three to 14 days to exhibit symptoms, after which irritability, failure to feed properly, convulsions and ultimately death by suffocation await 70 percent of infected newborns.
The prevalence of maternal and neonatal tetanus is still a threat to the lives of women and their unborn children in developing countries. With the “1 Pack = 1 Vaccine” campaign,
Pampers and UNICEF aim to raise a further five million vaccines over the next few months to work towards eliminating tetatnus in Yemen.
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world's largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.


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