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New method of giving Tetanus immunization

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Medical Advances Email this Page   Print this Page  
New method of giving Tetanus immunization
UNICEF is to introduce a new health technology, which may help to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus. The launch of Tetanus Toxoid Uniject in Mali from July 24-31, as part of a global effort to eliminate maternal and neo-natal tetanus will change the way immunizations are administered.

Neo-natal tetanus is a disease that attacks the newborn through the umbilical cord during cutting or dressing. In many developing countries births are unattended and the cutting of the umbilical cord is done with crude instruments like old razors or kitchen knives, leading to tetanus which is responsible for neonatal deaths and infant mortality. But if the mother is vaccinated, neo-natal tetanus need not occur.

The Uniject device is a prefilled, single-dose injection device containing Tetanus toxoid (TT) specifically designed to prevent attempts at reuse. It combines the biological product (or a drug), syringe, and the needle packaged in a sterile sealed pouch. Uniject devices are available in 0.25, 0.5 and 1.0 ml dose sizes and can be ordered with any standard needle size. This will be the first time globally that Uniject will be used with the tetanus vaccine, and the first time that non-health workers will administer vaccination by injection.

Through immunization and hygienic birth practices, maternal and neonatal tetanus can be eliminated globally. Yet in 57 developing countries, tetanus continues to take the lives of 200,000 newborns and 30,000 mothers each year. This is because it is often difficult to reach women and children in remote communities as the vaccine must be kept fresh and cold, and the vaccination can only be administed by trained health workers. But with Uniject these difficulties have been overcome:
  • Virtually anyone, even non-medical persons such as teachers, traditional birth attendants and extension health workers will be able to give the injection.

     
  • The vaccine can stay potent outside the refrigerator for up to 30 days. Uniject can only be used once, so that there is no risk that the health worker or volunteer will re-use the needle.

     
  • The introduction of Uniject may dramatically increase immunization coverage and significantly contribute to the goal of elimination of maternal and neo-natal tetanus by 2005.

Mali is the first country in the world where Uniject is being introduced. The first phase will cover 118,000 women of child-bearing years in two districts. The project will be extended to other countries where maternal and neo-natal tetanus is still causing the death of thousands of babies and their mothers. The (tetanus toxoid) vaccine will help save many lives in the developing world by revolutionizing immunization. A combination of these efforts should also ensure a broad-scale availability of a variety of important drugs and vaccines in Uniject devices.

 

UNICEF Press Release, July 18, 2002
 
Thursday, July 18, 2002



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ALL INFORMATION, DATA, AND MATERIAL CONTAINED, PRESENTED, OR PROVIDED HERE IS FOR GENERAL INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY AND IS NOT TO BE CONSTRUED AS REFLECTING THE KNOWLEDGE OR OPINIONS OF THE PUBLISHER, AND IS NOT TO BE CONSTRUED OR INTENDED AS PROVIDING MEDICAL OR LEGAL ADVICE.  THE DECISION WHETHER OR NOT TO VACCINATE IS AN IMPORTANT AND COMPLEX ISSUE AND SHOULD BE MADE BY YOU, AND YOU ALONE, IN CONSULTATION WITH YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER.