Protecting adolescent girls against tetanusBMJ 1995; 311 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.311.6997.73 (Published 08 July 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:73
- Loretta Brabin,
- Julia Kemp,
- Sheila M Maxwell,
- John Ikimalo,
- Orikomaba K Obunge,
- Nimi D Briggs
- Senior lecturer in women's health Senior research fellow Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool L3 5QA
- Senior lecturer in biochemistry John Moores University, Liverpool L3 5UX
- Consultant obstetrician Senior registrar in microbiology Professor in obstetrics University of Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt, Nigeria
- Loretta Brabin and Julia Kemp are supported by the Overseas Development Administration.
Would save many lives in the developing world
Time and again tetanus has been described as a neglected disease.1 An estimated 8 million babies and 2 million children and adults may die from tetanus during the 1990s, mostly in developing countries--despite the World Health Organisation's call to eliminate the disease by this year. Vaccination to prevent post-abortal and maternal tetanus has been largely ignored. The primary aim of prevention programmes has been to eliminate neonatal tetanus2; the two commonest prevention programmes--immunisation of preschool children and of pregnant women--have omitted adolescent girls.
Fauveau and colleagues collected data on 1101 cases of maternal tetanus in developing countries published between 1958 and 1990: 27% were attributed to post abortal and 67% to post partum sepsis.3 One third of all cases described were from Nigeria, which has a high rate of induced abortion, many of them performed under septic conditions. In …