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Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus

UNICEF's Work: Tetanus

Tetanus is an excruciating disease that kills one newborn every nine minutes, or approximately 160 babies each day. Typically contracted through unhygienic childbirth practices, the disease is swift, cruel and lethal.

But it is also highly preventable. An affordable vaccine given to women of childbearing age can stop tetanus.

Since 1999, UNICEF and its partners have immunized more than 118 million women in 50 countries and have eliminated the disease in 34 countries. But maternal and neonatal tetanus remains a public health threat in 25 countries. The women and newborns most at risk live in areas scarred by poverty, poor medical infrastructure or humanitarian crises.

The Eliminate Project

In 2010, Kiwanis International and UNICEF joined forces to help eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT) worldwide. This historic initiative, called  The Eliminate Project, will protect the lives of babies and mothers all over the globe and aims to help put an end to this cruel, centuries-old disease. It will also help pave the way for the delivery of other lifesaving services, such as clean water, nutrition and other vaccines.

The U.S. Fund for UNICEF is actively raising urgently needed funds for global MNT elimination program alongside our partners at Kiwanis International.  In total, The Eliminate Project will raise $110 million.

You can help. Support The Eliminate Project, our historic partnership with Kiwanis International, and do your part to rid the world of MNT by 2015.

News and Updates

December 13, 2013

The World Health Organization validated Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) as having eliminated MNT during the week of December 9, 2013.  This brings to 34 the number of countries that have eliminated MNT since 2000.  This is a moment to celebrate, even though we know we have more work to do to eliminate this threat in the remaining 25 countries where tetanus is still a risk to mothers, babies and families.  We will not stop until the day that ZERO mothers and babies die from tetanus.

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