Seeking treatment for little Mohammed, 21-year-old Halima visited the local clinic twice – and both times her baby was misdiagnosed. On her third trip, a different doctor noticed that Mohammed showed the classic signs of maternal neonatal tetanus (MNT) – a soaring fever, severe convulsions and inconsolable crying. But it was already too late, and six days later Halima’s newborn son passed away.
Maternal neonatal tetanus is a deadly disease that takes the lives of nearly 49,000 babies every year in poverty-stricken, developing countries like Chad.
MNT is passed from a mother to her newborn baby, when the umbilical cord is cut with an unsterilised blade, and it results in an excruciating, lonely death for the baby. An infected baby will experience repeated, painful convulsions and become extremely sensitive to light and touch - which means the baby is often left without its mother's touch, for days, before it eventually passes away.