Plateau Govt UNICEF fix Sept. 27 for Neonatal Tetanus Immunisation campaign

By Thompson Yamput

Jos – The Plateau Government in conjunction with UNICEF, has fixed Sept. 27 for the commencement of a 5-Day immunisation campaign against Neonatal Tetanus in women, particularly pregnant women.Mrs Jerisha Kakwi, of the State Health Educator, Primary Health Care (PHC) Board, made the pronouncement on Tuesday during a 1 – Day Stakeholders Sensitisation Workshop on Neonatal Tetanus Immunisation campaign held at the Board’s conference Hall, Jos.

Kakwi, who said that the campaign would commence on Sept. 27 and end on Oct. 1, said that the exercise was specifically meant for women of between the ages of 15 and 49 years.

According to her, the campaign would take place in only 16 of the 17 local government areas of the state excluding Jos North, which a “survey shows that cases of this condition are totally absent there  as a result of the many health institutions at their disposal.”

She said that Neonatal Tetanus is a “very deadly disease” that affects the central nervous systems by causing muscular contraction especially in pregnant women, nursing mothers and new born babies

“It is carried by a bacteria ‘Clostridium tetani ‘ that enters the body and is widely spread in the environment mostly present in soils, ash, human/animals feces and dead/decaying matters.

“Infections usually occur when the bacteria enters through a wound or cut that is exposed to soil, human/animals feces and dead/decaying matter.

“The symptoms of Neonatal Tetanus in new born babies include poor or inability to cry or suck breast and stiffness from the neck.

“The symptoms for pregnant women are: stiffness of the neck, hand and legs, which when occur in villages or communities, such victims are branded as witches, “ she said.

Kakwi also said that bacteria produced toxin (poison) that attacked the central nervous system and that as it progressed, muscles spasm developed in the Jaw called “Lockjaw.”

She strongly warned, “pregnant women should to stop delivery at homes and must ensure they go to the hospitals, where they will get clean environments.”

Mrs Comfort Adoon, Health Education, Ministry of Health, further explained that the Neonatal Tetanus immunisation had five doses even though the first dose protects for life.

“The 2nd dose is taken 4 weeks after the 1st dose, while the 3 rd dose is taken 6 weeks after the 2nd dose, while the 4th and 5th doses are taken at one year interval, “ Adoon said.

She appealed to all stakeholders to ensure all women within the ages of 15 and 49 took the immunisation vaccine within the campaign period to avoid been infected with the deadly disease.

She said the essence of the campaign was to ensure that women and new born babies were free from the disease and enjoyed a healthy living. (NAN)

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