Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus (MNT) has been a grave problem all over the world, including India, for centuries. To combat this problem Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Elimination (MNTE) initiative was launched by UNICEF, WHO and UNFPA, in 1999. MNT is defined as less than one NT case per 1000 live births in every district. Maternal tetanus is assumed to be eliminated once NT elimination is achieved. To achieve the goal Government of India applied a mix of strategies which included universalising vaccination of pregnant women attending antenatal care with Tetanus Toxoid; promoting institutional delivery by providing cash incentives; capacity building by training more skilled birth attendants and strengthening the health care delivery systems; and intensive behaviour change communication to reduce harmful cord care practices. The goal of MNTE was targeted to be achieved by 2009, which was further extended to 2015. The first MNTE validation was done by WHO in 2003/2004. The last validation survey was conducted in April 2015 which confirmed that maternal and neonatal tetanus is reduced to less than one case per 1000 live births in all 675 districts of the country. Finally on 15th May 2015, WHO declared India free of maternal and neonatal tetanus. However, intensive efforts should be implemented to maintain the status of elimination so that the significant public health milestone that India has achieved is sustained.
Keywords: Maternal; Neonatal; Tetanus; Elimination. Corresponding Author
: Bratati Banerjee