Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Elimination (MNTE) in The WHO African Region.
Tetanus is a vaccine-preventable disease of significant public health importance especially in developing countries. The WHO strategy for the elimination of maternal and neonatal tetanus recommends the promotion of clean delivery practices, systematic immunization of pregnant women and those in the reproductive age (15-49 years) and surveillance for neonatal tetanus. Implementation of the recommended strategy with the support of WHO, UNICEF and other partners has led to significant decline in number of cases and deaths due to NT over the last decades. The coverage with the second or more dose of tetanus toxoid-containing vaccines (TT2+) a proxy for Protection at Birth (PAB) for the WHO African region has risen from 62% in 2000 to 77% by 2015 Reported cases of NT declined from 5175 in 2000 to 1289 in 2015. The goal of eliminating maternal and neonatal tetanus by 2015 was missed, but some progress has been made. By the end of 2016, 37 out of 47 (79%) of the WHO AFR member states achieved elimination. The 10 member states remaining need additional support by all partners to achieve and maintain the goal of MNTE. Innovative ways of implementing the recommendations need to be urgently considered.