Neonatal tetanus elimination in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa

Idema, C.D., Harris, B.N., Ogunbanjo, G.A., and Durrheim, D.N. (2002) Neonatal tetanus elimination in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa. Tropical Medicine & International Health, 7 (7). pp. 622-624.

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Neonatal tetanus (NNT) is a serious but preventable disease, and the World Health Organization (WHO) wants to eliminate NNT globally by reducing its incidence to <1 case per 1000 live births. South Africa adopted this goal in 1995, but Mpumalanga, a rural province, has consistently reported cases of NNT despite an appropriate vaccination strategy to eliminate the disease. The aim of the study was to investigate the completeness of the passive notification system and to explore reasons for ongoing NNT cases despite implementation of the provincial vaccination strategy. We reviewed all hospital admissions in the province between 1996 and 2000 meeting the case definition for NNT and interviewed mothers of the NNT cases reported in 2000. We identified 26 NNT cases, of which only 14 (54%) were reported through the routine notification system. Most cases occurred as a result of the cultural practice of applying cow dung or rat faeces to the umbilical stump in the neonatal period. Although all districts met the WHO elimination target during the review period, there is scope to prevent unnecessary NNT deaths through culturally acceptable public awareness campaigns aimed at changing harmful practices, and encouraging hygienic births and postnatal cord care.

Item ID: 13693
Item Type: Article (Case Study)
ISSN: 1365-3156
Keywords: elimination; hospital review; neonatal tetanus; South Africa
Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2010 02:53
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1199 Other Medical and Health Sciences > 119999 Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920501 Child Health @ 100%
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