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24.03.2004 Health

Ministry of Health to eliminate tetanus by 2005

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Accra, March 24, GNA- The Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) of the Ministry of Health has targeted to immunize all women of child-bearing age (12-49 years) by the year 2005 to eliminate maternal and neo-natal tetanus.

The target is on women because of childbearing, since their chances of passing it on to their babies is greater.

The target is record less than one case per 1000 live births in every district of the country.

Dr Kwaku Afriyie, sector Minister said this in Accra on Wednesday when the Japanese International Community Assistance (JICA) and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) handed over tetanus toxoid vaccines and equipment to EPI through the Ministry for the programme.

The items, 135,000 vials of tetanus, 720 safety boxes, 60 first aid boxes, 7,516, rain coats and Wellington boots valued at 158,000 dollars were to support the ministry's programme.

The Minister said, his outfit, in collaboration with the Ghana Health Service (GHS), would ensure that the programme was successful and also rid of all vaccine preventable diseases form the system.

He commended JICA and UNICEF for their continuous support in the area of health and called for the strengthening of the co-operation. Dr Kwadwo Antwi Agyei, EPI Programme Manager, said there was a decline in the cases of tetanus among mothers and children, adding that recorded tetanus cases reduced from 581,923 in 2002 to 484,671 in 2003 in 17 high risk districts in Western, Brong-Ahafo, Ashanti, Central and Greater Accra Regions.

He attributed the decline to the fact that many women complained that the injection was very painful.

Every child-bearing woman needs a total of five injections before and after delivery to prevent maternal and neo-natal deaths. Ms Dorothy Rozga, UNICEF Representative in Ghana and Mr Tsuneo Takahata, Resident Representative of JICA, jointly pledged their continuous support to make the elimination of tetanus a success. 24 March 04

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