Anti-tetanus vaccination programme to be launched

Kathmandu, August 14:

The Ministry of Health and Population will launch the anti-tetanus vaccination pilot project in seven districts across the country from November. According to the ministry, it will administer three doses of anti-tetanus vaccines to women of childbearing age (10-40 years) in Morang, Chitwan, Nawalparasi, Palpa, Dhading, Surkhet and Kanchanpur. The project also aims to administer four vaccines to children. The first dose of anti-tetanus vaccine will be administered to a child when he/she is below the age of one year, the second dose when enrolled in the first grade, and the third and the fourth doses in the following two years. Hence, the four after-birth doses and one pre-birth dose administered to women of childbearing age will total five DPT vaccine doses sufficing a child to fight tetanus. Dr Shyam Raj Upreti, chief at Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) unit, Department of Health Services, said the programme has to be carried on and keeping this in mind, the MoHP is launching the project in seven districts.

Dr Upreti said the programme will be extended across the country to curb the tetanus death rate to less than one per 1,000 live births. “Neo-natal tetanus vaccination programme has been introduced after a programme that began in 2002 to vaccinate women of childbearing age was a success,” he said. Last year, 36 cases of tetanus were detected, while the number has dropped to 10 this year. Earlier, as many as 400 tetanus cases used to be reported. The government started the DPT 3 vaccination programme in 1990. Nepal Health Sector Programme Implementation Plan 2004-2006 is set to increase the anti-measles and anti-tetanus vaccination rate from 71 per cent in 2001 to 78 per cent by 2006 and to also increase total immunisation to 85 per cent by then.