Members of the Kiwanis Club of La Cañada are helping to fight a fatal disease that affects infants in third world countries.
In addition to the local Kiwanians, youth groups at La Cañada High School, La Cañada 7/8 and Flintridge Preparatory School are participating in The Eliminate Project, a fundraising campaign to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT), according to a press release from the Kiwanis Club of La Cañada. MNT is a "swift, painful and highly preventable disease in third world countries'' that kills one baby every nine minutes, the release states.
It is typically contracted through unhygienic childbirth practices and preventable by vaccinating women of childbearing age which will protect the mothers and their future babies.
Recently, six members of the local club attended the Kiwanis International Convention in New Orleans to join forces with members around the globe to raise awareness about MNT. Members met Dr. Francois Gasse, considered one of the leading technical experts in the world on tetanus.
“Gasse’s dedication to fight against tetanus has its origins in an experience he had as a medical student. The excruciating pain experienced by a newborn who dies from tetanus is a horrifying thing, and the cost to prevent this tragedy is so small,'' LCF Kiwanis board member Melinda Thompson said in a prepared statement.
As the world’s largest single donor, Kiwanis International is raising $110 million by 2015 for the project, which ultimately will protect at least 61 million women and their future babies who are at risk of this deadly disease, the press release states.
The funding supports UNICEF and its partners who have already eliminated MNT in 20 countries. With Kiwanis’ global volunteer network and UNICEF’s field staff and technical expertise, the Eliminate Project will serve those who live in developing countries where healthcare is limited and wipe out this cruel, centuries-old disease.
For more information about The Eliminate Project, please visit www.TheEliminateProject.org. Also, see www.kiwanis.org. and www.unicefusa.org.