VIENTIANE, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, 14 February 2011– As morning broke in the province of Bollikhamxay, health workers made final preparations for a mass immunization drive targeting women and children from surrounding villages. Tucked into the rolling mountainous landscape of Laos, Bollikhamxay is one of many provinces that recently conducted the third round of a national campaign designed to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus, or MNT, by 2012.
Tetanus is a rapid and painful killer, globally affecting tens of thousands of newborns each year. Lao PDR is one of the few remaining countries in Asia still affected by this disease, which is a common consequence of unhygienic deliveries and poor umbilical cord practices.
The two-year campaign, which started in December 2009, comprised three rounds of immunization for girls and women from 15 to 45 years of age, and vitamin A and de-worming capsules for children aged 6 to 59 months.
[Note from SaneVax: Tetanus is not just a women’s disease, nor is it a childhood disease. Last year, a scandal was uncovered in another country with similar vaccination practices regarding the tetanus vaccine. One has to wonder if this is a similar experiment.]