Kiwanis clubs around the world are helping rid the Earth of a deadly disease, one nation at a time.
Iraq and Cote d'Ivorie recently eliminated maternal and neonatal tetanus. They join a long list of nations that have used a combination of immunization campaigns and safe birthing education to stop the disease in its tracks. As recently as 2000, neonatal tetanus killed approximately 200,000 newborns in 59 countries each year. Now that number has dropped to 58,000 per year, with 31 countries free of the disease.
UNICEF and its partners, including Kiwanis International, touted this achievement on May 15 at the Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Elimination Initiative annual meeting. Since 1999, more than 118 million women have received the lifesaving tetanus vaccine.
Kiwanis International plays a key role in this effort through The Eliminate Project, dedicated to providing the funds necessary to continue the fight—and to eliminate MNT worldwide. During its May 23 Worldwide Report Day, nearly 50 Kiwanis district coordinators reported fundraising goals totaling more than $92 million. It’s an excellent start toward the roughly US$110 million needed to eliminate MNT by 2015 from the 28 countries where it remains a serious threat to the connection between mother and child.