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Kiwanis International pledges to raise US$110 million to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus

2011-07-06

Geneva, Switzerland, 7 July 2011—Kiwanis International is mobilizing its Kiwanis members across the globe to provide a much needed push to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT). Tetanus is a painful disease that kills one baby every nine minutes, or 160 newborns each day.

Kiwanis International pledges to raise US$110 million by 2015 for the project, the largest single pledge for global MNT elimination efforts. These funds will ultimately protect at least 61 million women and their future babies who are at risk of this deadly disease. The fundraising campaign’s inauguration is taking place during the 96th Annual Kiwanis International Convention in Geneva, Switzerland this week.

“Our Kiwanis members around the world are ready to raise funds to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus,” said Kiwanis International President Sylvester Neal. “For US$1.80 we can protect a mother and her future babies from this deadly but preventable disease. We can only do this with the support of our 8,000 local clubs, and with their help, we will eliminate MNT.”

The Eliminate Project is a global campaign that will save thousands of lives and protect millions of mothers and their future newborns. The disease is typically contracted through unhygienic childbirth practices. The goal of the project is to eliminate this swift, painful and highly preventable disease by vaccinating women of childbearing age, which will not only protect the mothers, but also their future newborns. 

“Millions of women will receive tetanus vaccines thanks to dedicated Kiwanians here in Canada and internationally,” said David Morley, President and CEO of UNICEF Canada.  “We are inspired by Kiwanis’ commitment to saving the lives of women and children around the world.”

The funding supports UNICEF and its partners that have already eliminated MNT in 20 countries. With Kiwanis’ global volunteer network, along with UNICEF’s field staff and technical expertise, The Eliminate Project will serve those who live in 38 developing countries where MNT remains a public health threat—and help eliminate this cruel, centuries-old disease.

The Eliminate Project will do more than protect women and babies from tetanus; it will also help create a path for other services, such as clean water, nutrition and other vaccines, to reach some of the world’s most vulnerable people who are not served because they are poor, remote and, in some cases, invisible to the world.

In taking on this mission, Kiwanis joins a select group of organizations and corporations, including P&G and BD, which have made significant strides toward MNT elimination. For more information about The Eliminate Project, please visit www.TheEliminateProject.org.

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About The Eliminate Project
The Kiwanis International global campaign for children, The Eliminate Project, aims to save thousands of young lives and protect millions of mothers and their future babies. In partnership with UNICEF and other partners, Kiwanis is eliminating MNT by vaccinating women of child-bearing age for tetanus, a disease that kills one baby every nine minutes. UNICEF and its partners have already eliminated MNT in 20 countries, and Kiwanis’ pledge to raise US$110 million will help fund the elimination of the disease in the 38 countries where tetanus remains a public health threat. Kiwanis’ global volunteer network and strength in reaching communities and leaders, along with UNICEF’s field staff, technical expertise and unbeatable supply chain will help wipe out this cruel, centuries-old disease and pave the way for other interventions. 

About UNICEF
UNICEF is the world's leading child-focused humanitarian and development agency. Through innovative programs and advocacy work, we save children's lives and secure their rights in virtually every country. Our global reach, unparalleled influence on policymakers, and diverse partnerships make us an instrumental force in shaping a world in which no child dies of a preventable cause. UNICEF is entirely supported by voluntary donations and helps all children, regardless of race, religion or politics. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca.

About Kiwanis
Founded in 1915, Kiwanis International is a global organization of clubs and members dedicated to serving the children of the world. Kiwanis and its family of clubs, including Circle K International for university students, Key Club for students age 14–18, Builders Club for students age 11–14, Kiwanis Kids for students age 6–12 and Aktion Club for adults living with disabilities, dedicate annually more than 18 million service hours to strengthen communities and serve children. The Kiwanis International family comprises nearly 600,000 adult and youth members in 80 countries and geographic areas. For more information about Kiwanis International, please visit www.kiwanis.org.

For further information:

Stefanie Carmichael, Communications Specialist, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8866; Cell: (647) 500-4230, scarmichael@unicef.ca.
Tiffany Baggetta, Director, Communications and Brand, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8892; Cell: (647) 308-4806, tbaggetta@unicef.ca.