UNICEF welcomes Kiwanis cooperation to fight deadly maternal and neonatal tetanus worldwide

UNICEF welcomed the announcement of a new partnership with global volunteer network Kiwanis International to fight tetanus in women and children worldwide, a disease that slays around 60,000 newborns each year.

“This is a disease that affects the poorest of the poor; those who have the least contact to healthcare,” described Dr. Nicholas K. Alipui, UNICEF Director of Programmes. “If we are ever going to make the virtual elimination of maternal and neonatal tetanus into a meaningful impact for children, this is it.” The aim of this new campaign is the total abolition of maternal and neonatal tetanus by providing vaccinations and healthcare to children and women most at risk.

Most of the mothers and newborn babies who pass away because of maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT) live in 40 countries in Africa and Southern and East Asia. The disease kills one baby every nine minutes, and death is preceded by unbearable pain – tiny newborns suffer repeated, painful convulsions and experience extreme sensitivity to light and touch. Most of these babies die because they do not receive essential life-saving health care.

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