Preventing Neonatal Tetanus

Airnoy Khamxaiy was born prematurely at home with no health care professional present.

His family cut his umbilical cord with bamboo and upon seeing that the infant was so small — weighing less than four pounds – took him to the local health care center. The staff at the center realized that the infant needed intensive care, so they referred the family to Lao Friends Hospital for Children.

The neonatal staff at LFHC determined that Airnoy Khamxaiy showed signs of infection, but was otherwise stable. They administered intravenous antibiotics to their tiny patient and immunized him to prevent neonatal tetanus from developing as a result of his umbilical cord being cut with bamboo.

Neonatal tetanus is particularly common in rural areas where most deliveries occur at home without adequate sterile procedures, according to the World Health Organization. Most infants who get the disease die.

The treatment Airnoy Khamxaiy received at LFHC successfully warded off neonatal tetanus. He still required support for his feeding and his young mother needed guidance from the staff to learn how to properly care for him.

The outstanding care given to Airnoy Khamxaiy has helped him gain weight and strength. He has been transferred into the new mothers and babies room, Sage’s Room, at the Neonatal Unit. In this space, he shares a bed with his mother, which allows them to bond. It also provides his mother the opportunity to independently care for him with support and indirect supervision from the neonatal nursing staff.