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Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, Division of Family Health, Programme of Maternal and Child Health and Family Planning, 1991 Dec. , 122 p. (WHO/MCH/91.10)This WHO consultation on maternal and perinatal infections reviews the epidemiology of these infections, examines the effectiveness of known intervention strategies to prevent and treat these infections, notes gaps in current knowledge, and develops recommendations for implementation of appropriate control strategies. The report is geared toward maternal and child health professionals in developing countries where maternal and perinatal infections cause considerable morbidity and death. These countries have limited resources for health care (e.g., US $5-10/person), largely due to the worsening economic situation. The report centers on the feasibility, effectiveness, and cost of interventions to prevent, treat, and control the infections. It has summary cost-effective analyses of maternal and perinatal infections and proposed interventions using 3 different hypothetical country situations to help policymakers decide on priorities and policies on prevention, treatment, and control of these infections. The report dedicates a chapter to each infection (syphilis, neonatal tetanus, malaria, hepatitis, HIV infections, chlamydial infections, herpes simplex infection, Group B Streptococcal infections, and maternal genital infection causing premature birth and low birth weight). Each chapter addresses their clinical and public health significance; prevalence in pregnant women and transmission from mother to fetus/infant; clinical effects; prevention, treatment, and control; and cost effectiveness and feasibility of various interventions. Based on public health importance, feasibility, and affordability, the consultants agreed that national and international programs should place the highest priority on these perinatal infections: gonococcal ophthalmia neonatorum, maternal and congenital syphilis, neonatal tetanus, hepatitis B, and maternal puerperal infections.
Report of the European Region on Immunization Activities. (Global Advisory Group EPI, Alexandria, October 1984). WHO/Expanded Immunization Programme and the European Immunization Targets in the Framework of HFA 2000.
[Unpublished] 1984. Presented at the EPI Global Advisory Group Meeting, Alexandria, Egypt, 21-25 October 1984. 3 p. (EPI/GAG/84/WP.4)Current reported levels of morbidity and mortality from measles, poliomyelitis, diphtheria, tetanus, and tuberculosis in most countries in the European Region are at or near record low levels. However, several factors threaten successful achievement of the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) goal of making immunization services available to all the world's children by the year 2000, including changes in public attitudes as diseases pose less of a visible threat, declining acceptance rates for certain immunizations, variations in vaccines included in the EPI, and incomplete information on the incidence of diseases preventable by immunization and on vaccination coverage rates. To launch a more coordinated approach to the EPI goals, a 2nd Conference on Immunization Policies in Europe is scheduled to be held in Czechoslovakia. Its objectives are: 1) to review and analyze the current situation, including achievements and gaps, in immunization programs in individual countries and the European Region as a whole; 2) to determine the necessary actions to eliminate indigenous measles, poliomyelitis, neonatal tetanus, congenital rubella, and diphtheria; 3) to consider appropriate policies regarding the control by immunization of other diseases of public health importance; 4) to strengthen existing or establish additional systems for effective monitoring and surveillance; 5) to formulate actions necessary to improve national vaccine programs in order to achieve national and regional targets; 6) to reinforce the commitment of Member Countries to the goals and activities of the EPI; and 7) to define appropriate activities for the Regional Office for Europe of the World Health Organization to achieve coordinated action.
Report of the Expanded Programme on Immunization Global Advisory Group Meeting, 20-23 October 1980, Geneva.
[Unpublished] 1980. 39 p. (EPI/GEN/80/1)This report of the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) Global Advisory Group Meeting, held during October 1980 in Geneva, Switzerland, presents conclusions and recommendations, global and regional overviews, working group discussions, and outlines global advisory group activities for 1981. In terms of global strategies, the EPI confronts dual challenges: to reduce morbidity and mortality by providing immunizations for all children of the world by 1990; and to develop immunization services in consonance with other health services, particularly those directed towards mothers and children, so they can mutually strengthen the approach of primary health care. Increased resources are needed to support the expansion of immunization services and to establish them as permanent elements of the health care system. The Global Advisory Group affirms the importance of setting quantified targets as a basic principle of management and endorses the principle of setting targets for the reduction of the EPI diseases at national, regional, and global levels. The primary focus for the World Health Organization (WHO) in promoting the EPI continues to be the support to national program implementation in all its aspects. The Group reviewed current EPI immunization schedules and policies and concurs in the following: for measles, for most developing countries, the available data support the current recommendations of administering a single dose of vaccine to children as early as possible after the child reaches the age of 9 months; for DPT, children in the 1st year of life should receive a series of 3 DPT doses administered at intervals of at least 1 month; for tetanus toxoid, the control of neonatal and puerperal tetanus by immunizing women of childbearing age, particularly pregnant women, is endorsed; for poliomyelitis, the Group endorses the "Outline for WHO's Research on Poliomyelitis, Polioviruses and Poliomyelitis Vaccines" prepared by the WHO Working Group convened in October 1980, i.e., for oral (live) vaccines, a 3-dose schedule, administered simultaneously with DPT vaccine, is recommended again; and for BCG concurred with the Advisory Committee on Medical Research conclusion that the use of BCG as an anti-tuberculosis measure within the EPI should be continued as at present. The implementation of programs at the national level remains the foremost priority for the EPI. National commitment, evidenced in part by the designation of a national manager, the establishment of realistic targets, and the allocation of adequate resources, is essential if programs are to succeed.
ANALES ESPANOLES DE PEDIATRIA. 1992 Jun; 36 Suppl 48:189.New vaccine developments will reflect achievements of the World Health Organization's (WHO) Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI), as well as resistance from the public toward increasing numbers of vaccines. WHO's EPI program has concentrated on tuberculosis, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, and measles. 35 countries are attempting to control hepatitis B with universal vaccination. Now some countries are also recommending vaccination against Haemophilus influenza, mumps, and rubella. The complexity of multiple injections has prompted new research on acellular vaccines for pertussis, hepatitis A and B, varicella, and malaria. Combined vaccines and new adjuvants are also targets of intense research. Vaccines are a priority, because they are among the most cost-effective of medical interventions.
In: Disease and mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa, edited by Richard G. Feachem, Dean T. Jamison. Oxford, England, Oxford University Press, 1991. 173-89.In Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), 1% of all children die of neonatal tetanus, 9% of measles, 3% of tuberculosis (TB), and 4% of pertussis. Further, .6% acquire paralytic polio. 20% of the .6% who acquire diphtheria die. Even though vaccination can control these diseases, only 20% of children in SSA receive the complete course of vaccination against the 6 diseases targeted by WHO's Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI). But high vaccine coverage is not always a cure-all. For example, in the Gambia coverage is high but high mortality levels persist. Of the EPI diseases, measles is the greatest threat since it kills 2 million people annually in developing countries. Measles related mortality is highest in the 9 months following the disease. Even though tetanus is a major cause of death in neonates, tetanus also kills adults such as those that work with the land. Further the tetanus vaccination is effective in adults, but no adult program operates in SSA. Trained midwives reduce neonatal tetanus mortality by 76.6% and vaccination of pregnant mothers with 2 doses of tetanus toxoid reduces mortality 93.3%. Lameness surveys in SSA countries show that, contrary to earlier beliefs, paralytic polio is quite common (range 0.7-13.2). Administration of the oral polio vaccine and improved sanitation are responsible for a real fall in polio cases in the Gambia, the Ivory Coast, and Cameroon. TB was introduced into SSA in the 19th century. It mainly occurs in adults. The estimated life long risk of developing smear positive TB in SSA is 63. The case fatality rate of pertussis in the 1st year of life is high (3.2) and infants do no acquire maternal immunity against it, so the best control measures are early vaccination and identifying secondary cases among young siblings. Of the EPI diseases, scientists know the least about diphtheria in SSA. Its case fatality rate is high (11-38%) yet it is treatable. Primary problems of adequate vaccination coverage for the EPI diseases are managerial problems rather than technological.
VACCINE. 1988 Oct; 6(5):393-8.In developing countries, where economic development is lacking and literacy rates are low, priority must be given to primary health care and to the establishmend of sustainable health care delivery systems. The World Health Organization's Expanded Program of Immunization was designed with the goal of immunizing all children against measles, pertussis, tetanus, poliomyelitis, tuberculosis, and diphtheria by 1990. A second function of the immunization program is to establish a health care delivery system. Today 50% of infants receive 3 doses of diptheria/pertussis/tetanus and polio vaccines, and 70% receive at least 1 dose. Measles kills 2 million children every year. The standard strain of attenuated vaccine is given at 9 months, and 1 dose protects 95% of children for life. Tetanus kills 800,000 infants every year. The vaccine must be refrigerated, and 2 doses are essential. Tuberculosis kills 2 million children under 5 every year. The attenuated BCG vaccine should be given at birth, and a single dose confers some protection. Diphtheria is most common among poor, urban children in termperate climates, and 3 doses of toxoid at monthly intervals are recommended. Poliomyelitis paralyzes 250,000 children a year. 4 doses of live attenuated Sabin vaccine are recommended. The vaccine is very sensitive to heat. Other vaccines in use or being developed include yellow fever, meningococcus, Japanese B encephalitis, rubella, hepatitis B, cholera, rotavirus, pneumonococcus, and Haemophilus influezae. 2 problems that confront the delivery of health services, including immunization, are lack of funds and lack of access to susceptible populations. Approaches to the lack of funds problem include fee for service, taxation, beter management of existing resources, reallocation of health resources, and increased funding from donor nations. Approaches to the problem of access include vaccination whenever children come into contact with a health facility for any reason, channeling by members of the community, involvement of traditional healers and birth attendants, outreach services, mass campaigns, pulse technics, and financial incentives.
CHILD SURVIVAL ACTION NEWS. 1988 Apr; (9):1-2.Present thinking regarding the control of neonatal tetanus (NT) suggests that the accepted protocol in the past, i.e., immunizing pregnant women with tetanus toxoid (TT) during antenatal care, is not sufficient in countries where antenatal care may be unavailable. Current control strategies, experts, and official World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations now indicate that efforts should reach beyond immunization of pregnant women and the training of traditional birth attendants in hygienic cord care practice to immunization of all women of childbearing age. Babies continue to die form NT because it is so difficult to reach women during pregnancy for immunization. Lack of commitment to expanding immunization programs as Who recommends stems in part from failure at both national and local levels to acknowledge the extent of the neonatal tetanus problem. NT is vastly underreported for several reasons: cultural practices often include the seclusion of women and their babies during the period after birth; people in developing countries have a fatalistic attitude because so many children die within the 1st year of life; newborns are rarely taken to health centers for treatment; health workers may fail to report NT for fear that their superiors will blame them for failure to immunize or for poor care of the umbilical cord; Western medicine and research has a curative rather than a preventive focus; and gathering information on NT by asking mothers to recall deaths of newborns with symptoms of NT is difficult because many women are ashamed or otherwise unwilling to report the event. The WHO believes that conventional reporting systems in developing countries identify only 2-4% of actual NT cases. Without sound documentation of the problem, it is difficult to gain financial and political commitment to eradicating NT. The VIII International Conference on Tetanus that occurred in Leningrad during 1987 outlined WHO's recommendation for a mixed strategy to control and eliminate tetanus: immunize all women of childbearing age, with special emphasis on pregnant women and women known to belong to high risk groups; assure hygienic delivery and umbilical care through training and supervision of birth attendants; and investigate cases to determine what action could have prevented them.
[Unpublished] 1988. Presented at the 13th World Conference on Health Education, Houston, Texas, August 28 - September 2, 1988. 60 p.This study is the report of a 1986 baseline survey, guided by the World Health Organization's "Guidelines for a Sample Survey of Diarrheal Diseases Morbidity, Mortality, and Treatment Rate." The survey method was the Expanded Program on Immunization 30 cluster 2-stage method. Baseline data were also gathered on the status of immunization against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, poliomyelitis, measles, and tuberculosis. Primary health care services in Bahrain are generally good. The archipelago of 670 sq km has a population of 417,210 including 55,000 children under 5. There are 18 health centers and 480 physicians or 1 physician for every 860 people. All inhabitants of a catchment area live within 5 km of a health center, and medical care is free. Diarrhea is due to a number of different organisms, including typhoid, paratyphoid, salmonellosis, Escherichia coli, rotaviruses, and giardiasis, but there has been no cholera in Bahrain since 1979. The national diarrheal diseases control program, drafted by the World Health Organization in 1985, emphasized the use of oral rehydration therapy, breast feeding, and feeding during diarrhea. No vaccinations are compulsory in Bahrain, but immunization coverage has been reported annually since 1981, and vaccinations are in line with the World Health Organization's criteria. Diphtheria-Typhoid-Paratyphoid vaccinations were 1st given in Bahrain in 1957; polio vaccination began in 1958 with Salk vaccine and in 1962 with the Sabin vaccine. Measles vaccination began in 1974. BCG vaccination has been given to children entering school since 1972. All health centers in the country offer vaccination services. Vaccines are stored under refrigeration, and the central supply is at the Public Health Directorate. Adverse effects of vaccinations are monitored. The 1986 diarrheal diseases survey, using the 30 cluster method, looked at a sample of 4114 children under 5 from 2515 households. 378 (9.2%) of the children suffered from diarrhea, and 200 (52.9%) were treated with oral rehydration salts. The under-5 diarrheal mortality rate was .97/1000. The estimated number of episodes of diarrhea per child per year is 2.4, with a high of 8.7 episodes in the Northern Region and a low of 1.2 episodes in the Muharraq Region. Vaccination coverage of children under 2 for other diseases was found to be 96.5% for diphtheria, paratyphoid, and typhoid; 95% for polio; 82.5% for measles; and 59.8% for the trivalent mumps, measles and rubella vaccine. 96.4% of all vaccinations were given in government hospitals. 98.7% of mothers have been examined during pregnancy, and 98.9% of all deliveries are in hospitals. It is recommended that a health education campaign be concentrated on diarrhea, breast feeding, feeding during diarrhea, and hygiene; that both medical staff and mothers be trained in the use of oral rehydration salts; that they should also be informed of the adverse effects of treating diarrhea with antibiotics; that a system for reporting cases of diarrhea be developed; that health education campaigns emphasize the importance of receiving booster doses of vaccines and of vaccination against measles; that staff at health centers adjust their schedules so as to be available for immunizations as needed; and that this survey be repeated every 2 years.
Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, 1986. 22 p.Maternal care is the most appropriate target for reducing the high perinatal and neonatal mortality typical of the least developed countries. The principles formulated by the 25th session of the WHO/UNICEF Joint Committee on Health Policy in 1985 are outlined here. Perinatal mortality is defined as infant death from 1000 g, even if intrauterine or stillborn, to 1 week of age. Neonatal mortality is that occurring in the 1st month of life. Half of infant mortality (up to 1 year of age) occurs in the 1st month, most of that during the 1st week, and these deaths are directly related to maternal care during pregnancy and delivery. They are caused by low birth weight, intrauterine or birth asphyxia, birth trauma, or infections, usually of the cord or amniotic fluid. Tetanus is the primary lethal infection. Tetanus can be prevented by immunizing women, or giving tetanus toxoid to pregnant women, but also very effectively by training birth assistants in hygiene. Traumatic deaths can best be prevented by training midwives and strengthening the support system for referral to clinics. The most cost-effective strategies for improving maternal health are nutritional intervention, malaria prevention, treatment of infections and of toxemia, reducing heavy workload of pregnant women, and family planning services. Points where community involvement is effective are discussed. WHO and UNICEF will increase support in health education, tetanus immunization, training of birth attendants, equipping birth facilities, appropriate technology, and operational research.
INFECTION CONTROL. 1984 Nov; 5(11):538-41.In 1978 the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MHSW) of Liberia launched the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) with the 5-year objective of establishing an 80% reduction in child mortality and morbidity from measles, polio, diphtheria, neonatal tetanus, pertussis, and tuberculosis. The program at first adopted a strategy of using 15 mobile units in 11 operational zones to deliver vaccinations throughout the country. However, by 1980, despite support from the Baptist World Alliance, the UN International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), and the World Health Organization (WHO), it became evident that the mobile strategy was neither economically feasible nor practical. Therefore, with support from the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the EPI shifted to a strategy of integrating immunization activities into the existing network of state health facilities. After 5 years, in 1982, the Program was evaluated by a team from the MHSW, WHO, USAID, and the Centers for Disease Control. The evaluating team felt that the EPI's strategy was good, but its goals were not being achieved due to deficiencies in funding, clinic supervision, and rural community outreach, as well as shortages of kerosene and spare parts needs to keep the essential refrigerators in operating condition. Measles remains endemic; in the capital, Monrovia, only 9% of the children have been vaccinated against it. Immunization coverage is particularly low in the capital the countries. Other reasons for low vaccination coverage in Liberia are lack of community awareness of existing facilities and the importance of vaccination and lack of coordination at the community level to use the existing facilities efficiently. International assistance is still needed, especially to develop heat-stable vaccines, so that maintenance of refrigerators will not be necessary.
[Unpublished] 1985. 15 p.This paper reviews the development of the global Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) initiative, reports on program progress since the 1984 EPI conference, and identifies actions needed to meet the goal of providing immunization services to all children of the world by 1990. The central EPI strategy to date has been to deliver immunization in consonance with other health services, particularly those aimed at mothers and children. The long-term goal of such efforts is to strengthen the health infrastructure so as to ensure the continuous provision of immunization and other primary health care services. Simply by reinforcing existing health services, a coverage level of 60-70% will be achieved in developing countries by 1990. If universal coverage is to be achieved, external funds will have to be provided to meet operational costs and train national managers. Acceleration of existing efforts constitutes the main EPI priority at present. Specific areas suggested for immediate action include provision of information about immunization at every health contact; a reduction in the drop-out rates between 1st and last immunization; increased attention to the control of measles, poliomyelitis, and neonatal tetanus; improved immunization services to the disadvantaged in urban areas; and, where appropriate, acceleration of the EPI through approaches such as national immunization days. Ongoing actions that need to be pursued include strengthening disease surveillance and outbreak control, reinforcing training and supervision, and pursuing applied research and development. Overall, management capacity within national programs remains the most severe constraint for the EPI.
WORLD HEALTH STATISTICS QUARTERLY. RAPPORT TRIMESTRIEL DE STATISTIQUES SANITAIRES MONDIALES. 1988; 41(1):19-25.Routine surveillance of the incidence of vaccine-preventable diseases has not proved sensitive enough to demonstrate the impact of the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) in many countries. In order to document progress since the start of the EPI in 1979, data are needed for several years prior to that. In most developing countries these can be found only in major cities or large hospitals. Therefore a system of sentinel surveillance, the Local Area Monitoring Project (LAM), is being set up in selected institutions in the major cities of the developing world. The primary goal of the LAM project is to provide disease-incidence data of sufficient quality to evaluate more fully the global impact of the EPI on the 6 target diseases--diptheria, pertusis, tetanus, poliomyelitis, measles, and tuberculosis. The goal is to include the major city of each of the 25 largest developing countries, with a total population of 115 million. These 25 countries together account for 85% of all births in the developing world. The program and coverage information is used to assess the impact of individual EPI programs on disease trends. Preliminary analysis of the 12 cities with the best data suggests that the impact of the EPI on the incidence of the target diseases has been greater than previously shown by the routine system. The LAM information is useful for global and regional analysis of program impact, but for the countries themselves its utility may be even greater. It is hoped that the project will help to improve a country's surveillance system by encouraging the use of sentinel reporting as a means of supplementing routine data. The information on the impact of the EPI may further increase political and public support for a program. (Summaries in ENG, FRE)
[Experience with the expanded WHO program on immunization against tetanus] Opyt rasshirennoi programmy VOZ po immunizatsii protiv stolbniaka.
ZHURNAL MIKROBIOLOGII, EPIDEMIOLOGII I IMMUNOBIOLOGII. 1985 Nov; (11):97-103.According to (WHO) statistics, over 1 million infants in the developing countries die each year from tetanus. The estimated annual occurrence of tetanus in the 3rd World exceeds 2.5 million cases, including approximately 1.3 million newborn infants. In 1974, WHO began an expanded program for the systematic immunization of infants against tetanus and certain other diseases. The program uses 2 approaches for preventing tetanus: 1) immunization of infants under 1 year of age with the AKDS vaccine; and 2) immunization of pregnant women or, if possible, all women, with tetanus anatoxin. The 2nd approach is more effective, especially when 2 doses of tetanus anatoxin are administered within a minimum interval of 4 weeks. The anatoxin has no harmful effects on the fetus and can be used during any stage of pregnancy. The program strives to reduce infant mortality caused by tetanus to less than 1 case in 1000 by 1990, and to 0 by 2000. To attain these goals, systematic immunization should be combined with drastic improvements in delivery techniques and hygiene in developing countries. Specialized surveys indicate that initial steps toward implementation of the program resulted in a significant reduction of infant mortality caused by tetanus. Experience with the expanded WHO program shows that elimination of tetanus in infants is a realistic and attainable goal.
[Expanded Programme on Immunization: Global Advisory Group] Programme Elargi de Vaccination: Groupe consultatif mondial.
Weekly Epidemiological Record / Releve Epidemiologique Hebdomadaire. 1984 Mar 23; 59(12):85-9.In addition to the conclusions and recommendations reached at the 6th meeting of the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) Global Advisory Group and summarized in this report, the Group reviewed at length the status of the program in the Western Pacific Region and made a series of recommendations specifically directed to activities in the Region. Of particular significance for the operational progress of the global program are the recommendations concerning "Administration of EPI Vaccines," which were subsequently endorsed by the Precongress workshop on Immunization held before the XVIIth International Congress of Pediatrics in Manila in November 1983. These recommendations are not listed here. In his report to the World Health Assembly in 1982, the Director-General summarized the major problems which threaten the success of efforts to achieve the World Health Organization (WHO) goal of reducing morbidity and mortality by providing immunization for all children of the world by 1990. The 5-Point Action Program adopted at that time remains a relevant guide for countries and for WHO as they work to resolve those problems. The EPI is concerned about the prevention of the target diseases, not merely with the administration of vaccine. In addition to working toward increases in immunization coverage, the EPI must assure the strenghtening of surveillance systems so that the magnitude of the health problem represented by the target diseases is known at the community, district, regional, and national levels; immunization strategies are continuously adapted in order to reach groups at highest risk; and the target diseases are reduced to a minimum. The development of surveillance systems is one of the priorities in the development of effective primary health care services. Disease surveillance in its various forms should be used at all management levels for monitoring immunization programs performance and for measuring program impact. Specific recommendations regarding disease surveillance to be undertaken at global and regional levels and at the national level are listed. The results of more than 100 lameness surveys conducted in 25 developing countries confirm that paralytic poliomyelitis constitutes an important public health problem in any area in which the disease is endemic. In most programs, initial emphasis should be placed on the develpment of sentinel surveillance sites to monitor disease incidence trends. Some progress has been made in acting on the recommendations made at the meeting on the prevention of neonatal tetanus held in Lahore in 1982, but intensification of activities is required. In many developing countries, the surveillance and control of diphtheria must be improved. All aspects of progress and problems in the global program are reflected at least somewhere in the Western Pacific Region, and most of the findings and recommendations generally are valid beyond the regional boundaries.
In: Medical education in the field of primary maternal child health care [edited by] M.M. Fayad, M.I. Abdalla, Ibrahim I. Ibrahim, Mohamed A. Bayad. [Cairo, Egypt, Cairo University, Faculty of Medicine, Dept. of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 1984]. 421-34.This paper begins by stating that the mortality from neonatal tetanus has been peculiarly underestimated until recently, and discusses why this has been the case. The availability of a methodology for retrospective surveys and undertaking of such surveys in recent years has thrown much light on the subject. The results of these surveys from 15 countries are presented in tabular form. It is apparent that at present between 500,000 and 1 million newborn infants a year succumb to tetanus. The prospects for control, using the combined approach of improved maternity care and maternal immunization, are discussed, and an appropriate schedule of immunization suggested. The prospects for control are good wherever there is realization of the magnitude of the problem plus reasonable access to even quite basic primary health care. Some activities of WHO in this field are briefly described. (author's)
Strategy for rapid elimination and continuing control of poliomyelitis and other vaccine preventable diseases of children in developing countries.
BMJ. British Medical Journal. 1986 Feb 22; 292(6519):531-3.Estimates of a recent yearly incidence of 400,000 cases of paralytic poliomyelitis, 2.5 million deaths from measles and its complications, over 1 million deaths from neonatal tetanus, and 735,000 deaths from pertussis in Asia, Africa, and Latin America now pose a greater challenge for new action than did the worldwide eradication of smallpox several years ago. By virtue of the conditions obtaining in the developing countries mere expansion or acceleration of what is being done now -- even with modifications that may achieve a temporary increase in vaccine coverage -- cannot achieve the desired rapid elimination and continuing control of these diseases. A new strategy -- namely, bringing the vaccine to the people during annual national days of vaccination -- has already been used successfully in some small and large developing countries of Latin America for the rapid elimination and continuing control of polio. This strategy could be adapted to include vaccination against measles, pertussis, and neonatal tetanus by additional training of community volunteers in the large auxiliary health armies that work with the existing health services each year. (author's)
In: The control of neonatal tetanus in India, edited by Indra Bhargava [and] Jotna Sokhey. New Delhi, India, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, 1983. 16-23.Neonatal tetanus is relatively preventable either by the immunization of pregnant women or hygienic care of the umbilical stump. Nonetheless, the medical profession tends to place great emphasis on its treatment than prevention, and the global magnitude of the problem remains largely unknown. In many countries, few cases of neonatal tetanus reach the hospitals and the usual notification system shows only a fraction of total mortality from this disease; thus, retrospective surveys are regarded as the most practical way to arrive at reasonably accurate estimates of disease incidence. Results of these surveys suggest that between 500,000 and 1 million deaths from neonatal tetanus occur each year in the developing world (excluding China). Trials have indicated the effectiveness of a combined approach to neonatal tetanus including improved maternity care (especially through training traditional birth attendants) and immunization of future mothers with 2 doses of tetanus toxoid. The basic prerequisites for effective control seem to be 1) a primary health care network accessible to the majority of the population and 2) an awareness of the magnitude of the problem. Every opportunity should be taken to immunize women in the childbearing period of life; many pregnant women do not take advantage of prenatal care. The World Health Organization (WHO) has been involved in the prevention of neonatal tetanus since the late 1960s. To achieve its goal of virtually eliminating neonatal tetanus by the year 2000, WHO plans to 1) encourage further retrospective surveys, especially in areas where the scope of the problem is unknown, and 2) support the demonstration of a combined approach (improved maternity care and immunization) in areas with populations over 250,000.