Update on maternal and neonatal tetanus elimination - Lao PDR
23 January 2012 - The Lao People’s Democratic Republic continues to make progress towards the national goal of maternal and neonatal tetanus elimination (MNTE). With the recent completion of three rounds of tetanus toxoid (TT) supplementary immunization activities (SIAs) in the majority of districts and mop-up immunization campaigns based on district risk assessment strengthening of neonatal tetanus (NT) surveillance has become a priority in MNTE approaches towards validation. With support of WHO, UNICEF and Luxemburg Development the Ministry of Health conducted a NT surveillance training 18-20 January 2012.
Participation of immunization, surveillance and mother and child health (MCH) staff from the national level and all provinces provided an excellent opportunity to review the current situation of MNTE in the country and defined jointly the way forward. The workshop enhanced technical skills of different MNTE strategies, identified through interactive group work relevant aspects of community involvement and opportunities for future collaboration of the three groups (EPI, surveillance, MCH) and drafted workplans for future collaboration.
As a first time approach to conduct such vaccine preventable diseases (VDP) surveillance training for EPI, surveillance and MCH staff this workshop succeeded as an innovative approach to foster greater coordination between different health programmes.
Main recommendations of the workshop included creating a national MNTE coordination group, developing risk assessment and NT surveillance guidelines, conducting risk assessment by district including field investigations, investigating all notified NT cases, establishing provincial plans on strengthening NT surveillance and training at the district level, ideally combined with surveillance for other EPI diseases.