Tetanus nearly eliminated after 40 years of vaccination in rural Sengerema district, Tanzania

  • D Melkert
  • L Kahema
  • P Melkert


Objective: To study the incidence of tetanus during the last 50 years in Sengerema, Tanzania.
Design: Analysing the annual reports in the only district hospital, focusing on the number of admissions and mortality for tetanus and malaria.
Setting: Sengerema Hospital, Sengerema district, Tanzania.
Subject: Number of admissions and mortality in Sengerema Hospital due to tetanus. Interventions: In the seventies and eighties a vaccination campaign was started end organised in order to cover the whole district and to provide immunity for tetanus.
Main outcome measures: From 1962 to 2012, we analysed the incidence and fatality rate of tetanus.
Result: One hundred and fifteen admissions in the sixties, increasing to 183 in the seventies, dropping to 30 in the nineties. For the last ten years 18 patients with tetanus were seen in the only district hospital. Then last year no admissions for tetanus were registered. The number of deaths due to tetanus decreased simultaneously, during the last decade a single fatality case was reported.
Conclusion: During the last decades, we have witnessed the disappearing of tetanus in Sengerema Hospital. The incidence of tetanus can be reduced significantly or eliminated by an effective immunisation programme, even in rural Tanzania.


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eISSN: 0012-835X