A year after India hit an important milestone with the successful elimination the progressive polio diseases, its reached another in record time. This time India has met with success in successfully eradicated tetanus, the lesser known mass killer. With tetanus as no longer being listed among the threats to public health, a majority of the healthcare industry can heave a sigh of relief, as it remained, until recently a helpless situation for agencies applying healthcare reforms nationwide.
From among 58 nations in the bid to become tetanus-free, India has achieved the goal of reducing tetanus cases across the nation to one in every 1,000 live births. This is also a massive achievement as the announcement of India being tetanus free comes ahead of its target deadline of December, as declared by Prime Minister Modi on 27th August at the ‘Global Call to Action’ Summit 2015, attended by representatives of 24 nations. He said in his address, “I am also happy to share with you today another major milestone achieved by India. India has eliminated maternal and neonatal tetanus. The validation for this has happened much before the global target date of December 2015. This gives us the confidence to achieve other targets well before the target date.”
WHAT IS MNT (Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus)?
Maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT) are the result of unclean deliveries wherein the umbilical cord is infected, in turn leading to lethal side effects. With the onset of disease, the mortality rate is extremely high, and with poor healthcare conditions in India, especially immediately, the disease progresses rapidly. There is a vaccine for tetanus, but due to the uncommonly delicate nature of the disease, individuals often discover the condition too late to provide and induce appropriate drugs.
WHERE WE STOOD?
Prime Minister Modi mentioned in his address, that in 1990, India’s under-five mortality rate stood at 126 against the global average of 90, and in 2013, the figure dropped to 49 against a global average of 46. He added, “The gap to the global average reduced from 36 points in 1990 to just 3 points in 2013 reflecting that India has achieved under-five mortality rate decline at an accelerated pace compared to global rate of decline. What this translates into is this: India is likely to reach close to achieving the MDG target if the current trend of annual decline is sustained.”
However, over the past 15 years, the worldwide death rate from tetanus dropped from over 800,000 deaths in 2000 to under 50,000 this year, and India stands as a proud nation, globally progressive in the eradication of this massively threatening disease. Over 22 countries still remain trapped in the clutches of this disease, but healthcare reforms are likely to find their there soon as well.