Worldwide Service Project

Kiwanis and UNICEF 2010-2015

Kiwanis and UNICEF, who worked together to fight iodine deficiency disorders in the 1990s; have joined forces again to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT).

This deadly disease steals the lives of over 60,000 innocent babies and 30,000 mothers each year.  The effects of the disease are excruciating as exposed tiny newborns suffer repeated, painful convulsions and extreme sensitivity to light and touch.  Death can occur within days.    The disease occurs commonly as a result of unhygienic birthing practices making newborn babies and their mothers so vulnerable.   Worldwide, a baby dies of this disease every nine minutes – 160 newborns each day.       Breaks in the skin of any type can allow tetanus spores contained in the soil to enter the body so small children are also greatly at risk.

In the past 10 years, 18 nations have eliminated MNT.  However a final push is required to wipe out MNT in the 40 countries where it’s still endemic.

To eliminate MNT from the Earth by 2015, 129 million mothers and their future babies must be immunized.  This requires vaccines, syringes, safe storage, transportation, education, thousands of skilled staff and more.    It will take $US110 million and the dedicated work of Kiwanis and UNICEF.

Kiwanis efforts to eliminate iodine deficiency disorders united our global Kiwanis family to raise more than US$100 million (1993-2005) and now, once again, we’ll continue to be advocates for children and their mothers in our new campaign – The Eliminate Project (2010-2015).