The Ministry of Public Health and Population in collaboration with UNICEF will launch on Saturday a weeklong Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Elimination (MNTE) Campaign from 9-14 of October 2010.
In a press release, UNICEF said that the campaign will target 1.7 million women of child-bearing age (15-49) in 202 districts in 14 Yemeni provinces.
During the past decade, Yemen has succeeded in improving the Under-five and Maternal Mortality indicators, towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. However, significant challenges still exist.
Coverage of tetanus immunization for women of child-bearing age is still only 20 per cent.
"During the campaign, 2,292 health workers in fixed facilities and 3,307 mobile teams will participate to cover more than 1.7 million women in the targeted districts.
The campaign, which will be held under the patronage of Abdu Rabbo Mansour Hadi, Vice President, is a major step towards tetanus elimination in Yemen," said Abdul Karim Rasea, Minister of Public Health and Population.
Despite existing challenges, the Under-five Mortality Rate decreased from 102 per 1000 live births in 2003 to 78.2 in 2006. However, more efforts are needed to reach the goal of reducing maternal mortality.
"As Yemen continues to grapple with the challenges of human development, there is need for the government and development partners to accelerate efforts and increase investment in order to meet our MDG commitments and make a difference in the lives of the children and women in this country” says Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF’s Representative in Yemen.
This campaign builds on gains already made during a targeted campaign carried out in 60 high-risk districts of four governorates during April and June 2008.
The current campaign is based on microplans at the district and sub-district levels and is expected to cover more than 90 per cent of all women in the country in the targeted age group. Microplans for a campaign in Saada will be developed upon completion of a WHO review of functioning health facilities, available health workers and population figures.
The participatory role of local councils is essential in reaching the elimination phase within five years. In Yemen, where 77 per cent of births take place at home and 93 per cent of maternal deaths are as a result of home delivery complications, this campaign is crucial if we are to make any gains in reducing infant mortality and improving maternal health.
UNICEF has provided 3.4 million doses of vaccine to be administered nationwide by 2,508 health workers in fixed sites and 7,116 health workers in mobile teams; 1,142 supervisors will monitor the campaign’s execution.
With the support of the Ministry of Endowment, imams and other religious leaders in the targeted governorates are also including messages on the campaign in their Friday sermons.