After polio, India set to win battle against tetanus at childbirth

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A year after obtaining WHO certification for the elimination of polio, India is on the verge of crossing another milestone in public health. It has eliminated maternal and neonatal tetanus — an infection that at its peak killed an estimated 2 lakh adults and children every year — and is expecting an official certification from WHO within two months, Health Ministry said.

Confirmation of the breakthrough came after a joint team of WHO and UNICEF recently conducted field visits in Jammu and Kashmir, Nagaland and Meghalaya, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, which were the last four hotspots where incidence of the infection had remained above acceptable levels, sources said. “The latest inspections went well and it’s only a matter of time before the formal certification comes, like it happened in the case of polio,” said a senior Health Ministry official.

India had received the WHO certification for its ‘Polio Free’ status last March – until 2009, it had accounted for half of all cases globally.