A woman in Cameroon receives a tetanus vaccine as part of a UNICEF-supported campaign to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus
 

Kiwanis International and UNICEF teamed up in 2010 to help end maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT) worldwide as partners in The Eliminate Project, an historic decade-long initiative that helped accelerate global efforts to vaccinate women of reproductive age in countries where MNT remained a threat, to protect mothers and babies from this cruel, centuries-old disease.

Kiwanis continues to support this lifesaving work as part of the Global MNT Elimination Initiative — an international private-public partnership that includes National Governments, UNICEF, WHO, UNFPA, GAVI, USAID/Immunization Basics, CDC, UNICEF National Committees, the Government of Canada, the Government of Japan, Save the Children, PATH, RMHC, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Kiwanis International, Pampers, a brand by Procter & Gamble, BD and Latter-day Saint Charities.

Tetanus is not passed from person to person, but through exposure to spores of Clostridium tetani, a common bacterium often found in soil. Mothers who give birth outside hygienic health facilities and who have not been immunized themselves are most at risk. Infants infected during or just after delivery suffer an excruciating death.

But tetanus is surprisingly easy to prevent through immunization and hygienic birth practices. A series of three shots provides immunity to a woman and protects her future children at birth. (As they grow, children need routine booster shots to remain protected.)

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Top photo: A woman receives a tetanus vaccine as part of a UNICEF-supported campaign to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus in Cameroon. © UNICEF/UNI86573/Hearfield