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Immunization campaign aims to eliminate tetanus in Madagascar

© UNICEF video
Maximillian, 24, who is pregnant with her second child, receives her tetanus vaccination from a health worker who reached her village with a mobile medical team.

By Misbah Sheikh

MIANDRIVAZO, Madagascar, 20 July 2006 – Dr. Mamy and Sister Henriette have walked 5 km under the sun to reach a small village in Miandravazo, southeast Madagascar. Their team of health workers is here with vaccinations to protect mothers like Maximillian, 24, against tetanus.

“I am so happy that they walked all the way to come here,” says a beaming Maximillian, who is five months pregnant with her second child. “I would have never remembered that I needed another shot to protect both myself and my unborn child from tetanus,” she admits.

Dr. Mamy is proud that his team is doing its share to help eliminate tetanus once for all in this island nation.

“We have to make the effort to find any means necessary to get to these villages, even if there is no car or bus,” he says. “That’s why they call us mobile health teams.”

© UNICEF video
UNICEF Health Officer Nilda Lambo administrates tetanus vaccinations to women in southeast Madagascar.

Reducing child mortality

During the third round of a tetanus immunization campaign launched last year by the Ministry of Health, women of childbearing age in 19 of the country’s 111 districts will be protected against the deadly disease. These 19 districts have been identified as high-risk areas due to their low immunization coverage rates.

“UNICEF supports the Ministry of Health to conduct supplementary immunization campaigns to ensure that no woman is left out,” say UNICEF Health Officer Nilda Lambo.

“It we can ensure timely antenatal care, and at the same time promote the importance of newborn care, early and exclusive breastfeeding – along with the simple treatment of diseases such as malaria – we can contribute greatly to reducing child mortality in this country,” adds Dr. Lambo.

With tireless support from mobile health teams like the one led by Dr. Mamy, UNICEF and its partners are determined to eliminate tetanus and other preventable diseases that kill thousands of children in Madagascar each year.



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20 July 2006:
UNICEF correspondent Kun Li reports on Madagascar’s campaign to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus.
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