Thursday’s program was expected to be a presentation by Bradley County Trustee Mike Smith, but Smith is convalescing from surgery and was unable to make the presentation. He is expected to speak at a Kiwanis Club luncheon in the future.
Kiwanis members Traci Hamilton and Chris Newton discussed the latest statistics in “The Eliminate Project” and displayed a video of the global program.
Progress is being made in the elimination effort, but MNT remains a deadly risk in 40 countries around the world. Tetanus is no great danger in developed countries like the United States, but in underdeveloped countries, especially in rural areas, it is a horrific and fatal illness.
UNICEF, with assistance from Kiwanis clubs around the world, is attempting to vaccinate mothers so they and their newborns will not be susceptible to the disease.
Hamilton and Newton discussed the fact a baby dies every nine minutes — 160 each day — from MNT.
The disease has been eliminated in more than 20 countries, but in other countries in Africa and the Far East it is a constant threat. Experts say this is extremely sad, since humanity has the vaccine to eliminate the disease.
Three injections, at a cost of 60 cents each ($1.80 for all three), can render a mother immune to tetanus. But, in rural areas of the world many mothers have been unable to get the vaccine. This is what The Eliminate Project is trying to do — to get the vaccine to every mother in the world.
Tetanus is contracted from dirt, and this normally happens to babies during birth.
In the 40 countries where MNT is still a risk, there is one case of maternal neonatal tetanus for every 1,000 live births. This is a tragic situation and shouldn’t happen, because we have a vaccine, project directors say.
Kiwanis International chose this partnership with UNICEF because there is already an action plan in place. Kiwanis elected to be a global health advocate on this effort, because success is measurable.
The Eliminate Project is paving the way for other intervention that will boost maternal health and child survival, especially in our poorer countries.
Funds raised by the local Kiwanis club are given to Kiwanis International, which makes grants to the UNICEF effort. UNICEF then delivers the vaccine to mothers in affected areas of the world.
The Eliminate Project has already saved and protects millions of babies and mothers around the world. Still, the effort is to eliminate the risk completely.
The Cleveland Kiwanis Club, like other Kiwanis chapters worldwide, will continue to assist The Eliminate Project because the effort fits well with the organization’s theme of helping and working with children.
Other Kiwanis notes:
n Kiwanis members are preparing for the club’s annual Pancake Breakfast fundraiser Saturday, April 14, at The Bald Headed Bistro.
Tickets are $6 and available from any Kiwanis member. Hours for the meal are 7 to 11 a.m. and breakfast includes pancakes, sausage, juice, milk and coffee.
n Kiwanis members were reminded that The Great Strides events will be Saturday at Lee University. Great Strides raises funds for the fight against cystic fibrosis.
n Habitat’s Bike to Build event is also scheduled April 1 and Kiwanis members will serve as tour directors.