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WHO declares India YAWS and maternal tetanus free

India becomes first nation to be free of yaws and maternal and neonatal tetanus

Policy Pulse
Publish Date: Jul 15 2016 12:38PM | Updated Date: Jul 15 2016 12:38PM

WHO declares India YAWS and maternal tetanus free

World Health Organisation presents certificates declaring elimination of YAWS and maternal and neonatal tetanus to Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare J P Nadda. YAWS is a kind of bacterial infection that affects skin, bones and joints, while tetanus, another bacterial infection, leads to muscle spasms that can be very dangerous.


This is another major achievement for public health in India. Mr. Nadda said the achievement of MNTE should be sustained by strengthening the healthcare system, high routine immunization coverage and promotion of institutional and clean delivery, clean cord practices and effective surveillance system.


"India's focused approach on making maternal and newborn care accessible to all and addressing health care equity more generally has made these remarkable successes possible. These victories are not only India's but all of humanity's as the country accounts for approximately one-sixth of the world's population," said Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, World Health Organization South-East Asia Region, said after presenting the certificates to the minister.


These eliminations were achieved by using the existing system and health workforce. The Regional Director described India's achievement of maternal and neonatal tetanus elimination (MNTE) as a momentous public health feat, as until a few decades ago the country reported 150 000 to 200 000 neonatal tetanus cases annually.


Both achievements will not only improve the health of marginalized communities, but will also enhance their socio-economic status and contribute to India's wider development, the Regional Director said.


With this, WHO said, the entire South-East Asia Region has achieved elimination of maternal and neonatal tetanus, becoming the second region, after European Region, to achieve the feat.