Kiwanis backs UNICEF in fighting tetanus

Kiwanis International will back UNICEF with a $110 million campaign to eliminate tetanus in mothers and newborns.

Indianapolis-based Kiwanis announced "The Eliminate Project" Thursday during its international convention in Las Vegas. Kiwanis members around the world will try to raise the money over the next five years. The funding is expected to provide 387 million doses of vaccine, which UNICEF will deliver to people in 40 African and southeast Asian countries.

UNICEF estimates that 60,000 newborns and 30,000 mothers die of tetanus each year. The disease is prevented by a series of three vaccinations to women of childbearing age.

Kiwanis has 586,000 adult and youth members, so its backing is significant for international aid organizations. Kiwanis leaders chose UNICEF over two other finalists: the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases and Malaria No More.

Kiwanis previously raised $100 million to help UNICEF eliminate iodine deficiency disorders, a preventable cause of mental impairment.

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