The National, Monday July 29th, 2013
By SONIA KENU
NATIONAL Capital District director for public health Dr Nicko Wuatai says funding is vital in carrying out public awareness on tetanus toxoid vaccination.
Wuatai said the first round of vaccination was a success because they had sufficient funding to hire vehicles and employ people to carry out the exercise.
“We reached 91,000 women in the first round which we conducted between April and May last year compared to round two (Oct-Dec) where we reached only 57,000 because of limited funding,” he said.
Wuatai said the NCD health services reached a total of 58,738 women in the city, making up 77% of the target of 76,128 for round three.
“We have extended the campaign for two more weeks and in that time the teams will go back to the sites to vaccinate those who missed out,” he said.
“We are optimistic that in two weeks we will vaccinate at least 90% of women who are of child bearing age (15 to 45 years.”
NCD has about 19 health facilities carrying out the vaccination with 325 sites to cover.
Tetanus is caused by a toxin (poison) produced by a bacterium that grows in the absence of oxygen such as in dirty wounds or in the umbilical cord if it is cut with a non-sterile instrument.
Family health coordinator Sr Susan Nalu said last week that tetanus infection raised concerns due to the high rate of mother and infant deaths in the country.
“Our teams are stationed at the sites to provide tetanus toxoid vaccination to our women and at the same time provide the routine immunisation for children under a year, vitamin A supplement to children between six months and a year and oral polio vaccine to children between zero and five years in 10 selected provinces,” she said.
Wuatai thanked sponsors UNICEF, the World Health Organisation, the Department of Health, Bank South Pacific and the media for promoting the campaign.