WHO/UNICEF Joint Inter-Regional Workshop on Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Elimination
Place: Manila, Philippines
Date: 20 Jun, 2001 - 22 Jun, 2001
The WHO/UNICEF Joint Interregional Workshop on Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Elimination was attended by 47 participants including: officers/Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) national managers of the Ministries/Departments of Health of six WHO Western Pacific Region countries (Cambodia, China, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Viet Nam) and two countries of the WHO South-East Asia Region (Indonesia and Myanmar), all members of UNICEF's East Asia Pacific Region; and a secretariat composed of WHO and UNICEF country, regional office and headquarters staff.Significant progress has been made towards reducing the burden of maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT). However, 57 countries have yet to achieve the MNT elimination goal as set by the World Health Assembly and endorsed by the 1990 World Summit for Children. Eight high-risk countries from the region participated in the workshop to review the status of MNT elimination and discuss strategies to meet the goal.Due to progress with tetanus toxoid (TT) immunization and the achievements of EPI during the last 10 years, the disease is now focused on districts with low EPI coverage and poor access to clean deliveries, often in hard-to-reach rural areas. Even so, tetanus causes a significant number of maternal and infant deaths, all of which could easily be prevented by tetanus toxoid immunization of women.As the disease is focal in nature, the approach is to improve surveillance, identify high-risk districts and target them with improved routine and supplementary immunization activities. Today there is an increasing awareness that those same districts should benefit equally from multiple public health interventions. In the participating countries, now free of poliomyelitis, there are opportunities to build on the experience of poliomyelitis eradication to reach underserved populations.