An estimated 500,000 newborn lives have been saved and 100 million women and their newborns protected from the deadly disease, maternal and newborn tetanus, thanks to a ten-year long partnership between Pampers and UNICEF that helped achieve this milestone.

Video: Pampers UNICEF 10 Year Anniversary

The partners marked the tenth anniversary of their work today by celebrating the contributions of their joint effort that has helped in the elimination of maternal and newborn tetanus in 17 countries, with the success of the ‘1 Pack = 1 Vaccine’ initiative.

Long-standing spokesperson for the 1 Pack = 1 Vaccine campaign, Emma Bunton, united with Pampers and UNICEF during a global summit in New York to celebrate the progress for mothers and babies as a result of the partnership.

At the event, Emma reflected on the decade-long initiative and invited everyone to mark the 10th anniversary by resolving to eliminate maternal and newborn tetanus entirely.

“Working with the people who have been instrumental in the success of this partnership, and meeting some of the mothers and babies who have enjoyed better, healthier lives as a result of the initiative has been an unforgettable experience,” said former Spice Girl Emma Bunton.

The 1 Pack = 1 Vaccine campaign has combined two components that are essential to defeating a disease like maternal and newborn tetanus: Raising funds, and raising profile.

“The partnership between Pampers and UNICEF has resulted in much greater awareness of maternal and newborn tetanus.” said Yoka Brandt, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director. “It will take even more commitment and investment, but we can and must accelerate elimination efforts in the remaining 21 countries where the key challenge remains universal access to life saving interventions, including maternal and newborn tetanus vaccines.”

And although much has already been achieved, there is more work to be done, as maternal and newborn tetanus still threatens the lives of 71 million women and their newborns.

Sirma Umur, Pampers VP babycare E-IMEA says “We continue to partner with UNICEF to help protect the world’s babies against this deadly disease and invite everyone to join us in our 10th anniversary wish to eliminate maternal and newborn tetanus entirely.”

Tetanus is caused by bacteria that live in soil. Newborns are often infected as a result of unhygienic birth practices, such as cutting the umbilical cord with un-sterile instruments or handling it with dirty hands. Once contracted, there is no real cure. Nearly all babies who contract tetanus die, unless they receive treatment.

The true extent of the newborn tetanus death toll is not fully known, since the population at the highest risk of contracting the disease tends to live in rural areas with little or no access to health care services or education.

Newborn tetanus can be prevented through a simple vaccination given to pregnant women and women of a child-bearing age, to protect both the woman and her unborn child during this vulnerable period. Following administration of the tetanus vaccine to a pregnant mother, the antibodies pass across the placenta to her foetus.

World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF recommend three appropriately spaced doses of the tetanus vaccine in order to ensure long-lasting immunity. After two doses, a woman who is vaccinated before she gives birth will be protected against the disease for three years. After three doses she will be protected for five years, and in both cases, will share her protection with her baby for the first two months of life

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