David Beasley, a member of the Florence Kiwanis Club and state organizer for the Eliminate Project, spoke to members of the Kiwanis Club of Jasper Tuesday about the campaign. Beasley said one baby dies every nine minutes from tetanus. He added that basically all MNT cases are found in 36 Third World countries, and the problem has been eliminated from 20 countries since 2000. The goal is the Eliminate Project is to cut the MNT rate to less than one per 1,000 live births.
Beasley said MNT is transmitted during the birthing process and that many times the mothers and their children die. He said deaths from MNT are extremely painful.
“We’re not talking about a baby laying down and dying,” he said. “This is a very painful and terrible death.”
The global fundraising goal for the campaign is set at $110 million. Kiwanis Clubs in Alabama are expected to raise a little more than $2 million.
“If we can just collect our spare change, we can make that goal by 2015,” Beasley said.
Beasley said it costs $1.80 for a vaccine to protect a mother and her future children from tetanus. Alabama clubs have already raised $216,000, which Beasley said adds up to 120,000 women and their future children being saved. Kiwanis International has teamed with UNICEF to distribute the vaccines.
“We make so many $2 transactions, but how often do one of those transactions save lives,” Beasley said. “This campaign is saving lives.”
Pam Sullivan, current Jasper Kiwanis president, said she is proud of the international organization for taking up the fight against MNT.
“This is a global situation, and I’m glad Kiwanis is paired up with UNICEF to handle this,” she said.
For more information on the Eliminate Project, visit sites.kiwanis.org/Kiwanis/en/theELIMINATEproject. The campaign also has its own Facebook page.