The National, Tuesday June 18th, 2013
By ELIZABETH MIAE
TETANUS kills one newborn every nine minutes throughout the world, United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) country representative Baba Danbappa says.
“Almost all of these babies are born in families living in the most disadvantaged areas and communities,” he said during the launch of round three of the supplementary immunisation activity (SIA) for tetanus toxoid in Port Moresby yesterday.
“This tetanus toxoid vaccination round three campaign will free the newborn child and the mother from the dangers of tetanus, one of the most deadly diseases both can face.”
Danbappa supported the decision by the Health Ministry for all health workers to become an engine of change for the life of every child, woman, family and community.
However, he said that the elimination of maternal and neonatal tetanus had not been an easy task.
“To date, 28 priority countries are yet to reach this global target by 2015 and Papua New Guinea is one of those countries.”
He assured the Government of Unicef’s commitment to assist in bringing down the infant and maternal deaths from the tetanus infection.
He said Unicef supported the strengthening of routine immunisation for sustaining polio eradication, measles control and introduction of new vaccines such as pneumococcal for the prevention of pneumonia and its complications.
“We support other health interventions, nutrition, HIV/AIDS, education, child protection, programme monitoring and evaluation – all of which contribute to the total development of children and women.”
He told students of St Charles Lwanga Secondary School, Gerehu Secondary School and Kopkop College who were present at the occasion that every boy and girl was a key communication channel to the family and community.
Danbappa said that Unicef had teamed up with the health promotion branch and World Health Organisation to ensure accurate and consistent information was disseminated.