In a major achievement, India has now been declared free of maternal and neonatal tetanus by the WHO. This is important also because tetanus was seen as a major health concern for the newborn after the elimination of polio a year ago.
As per the WHO, the National Rural Health Mission launched in 2005 was instrumental in facilitating this feat. Also, the learning from the polio eradication programme helped the healthcare workers and administration in a big way and tetanus could be targeted with greater ease.
Just 25 years ago, neonatal tetanus, which means tetanus in the newborn, was responsible for 80000 deaths annually and was almost 15% of the total neonatal deaths across the country.
The disease usually occurs in newborns through infection of the unhealed umbilical stump, especially when the stump is cut with a non-sterile instrument. As per the norms, maternal tetanus is considered eliminated once neonatal tetanus elimination has been achieved.
The Logical Indian congratulates everyone on this piece of good news and we hope more diseases get eliminated through the dedicated work of our medical staff.