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India is Free of Maternal Neonatal Tetanus
Aug 31, 2015

The World Health Organisation has said that India has reached its goal of eliminating maternal and neonatal tetanus, a significant public health milestone.

Salient Features

  • The elimination of neonatal tetanus is defined as less than one case in 1000 live births in every district across the country.

  • Newborn children and their mothers are at the highest risk of infections just after the delivery. And Tetanus, which majorly occurs due to an open wound in the body, is one of the biggest reasons behind maternal and newborn mortality.

  • Maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT) was responsible for the deaths of an estimated two lakh adults and children every year in India, when the infection was at its peak. 

  • But the figures have been constantly decreasing with help of aggressive medical intervention and introduction of ASHAs (Accredited Social Health Activists).

  • The disease usually occurs in newborns through infection of the unhealed umbilical stump, especially when the stump is cut with a non-sterile instrument. 

  • Maternal tetanus is considered eliminated once neonatal tetanus elimination has been achieved.

  • India’s infant mortality rate (IMR) stands at 40 while the maternal mortality rate (MMR) stands at 167, which is far less when compared to that in 1990 when the IMR was 380, and MMR was 540.

  • Another remarkable point here is that the global target date for elimination of MNT was December 2015, but India has achieved the milestone much before the deadline.


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