Milestones against MNT in 2018-19

Aug 22, 2019
© UNICEF_UN0294736_Frank Dejongh

The 2018-19 Kiwanis year has been important to the fight against maternal and neonatal tetanus. Take a look at some of our milestones.  

Chad eliminates MNT   

In April, Chad became the 26th country to eliminate MNT since the beginning of The Eliminate Project. It’s a remarkable achievement: The country faced severe obstacles, including a large displaced population due to conflict prompted by Boko Haram. Many children have been separated from their families and subjected to exploitation, abuse and recruitment by armed groups. Amid so much strife, it’s a significant bit of good news: Mothers no longer fear losing their newborns to tetanus. 


New report celebrates wins against MNT 

The number of babies dying from tetanus each year has been cut nearly in half since the start of The Eliminate Project. A new report shows that 30,848 babies died of tetanus in 2017 — down 47% since 2010, when Kiwanis partnered with UNICEF. The report also showed that the number of newborns dying each day from tetanus decreased from 160 in 2011 to 85 in 2017. 

Key Club president appears before U.S. Congress 

2018-19 Key Club International President Emily Rice, traveled to Washington, D.C., in March. Accompanied by UNICEF USA President and CEO Caryl Stern and Kiwanis International Executive Director Stan Soderstrom, she advocated for US$2 million in MNT funding.  

Watch her testimony here:  

Districts receive K.I.D.S. awards for fundraising commitment 

Kiwanis International President Poly Lat presented the following districts with K.I.D.S. awards for 100% fulfilment of their commitment to The Eliminate Project: New England & Bermuda, Switzerland-Liechtenstein, Japan, Netherlands and Germany. Kiwanis Districts of Eastern Canada & Caribbean, Pacific Northwest and Western Canada also received awards for 99% fulfillment and Rocky Mountain for 98%.  

Because of contributions from Kiwanians in these districts, mothers in more countries around the world no longer fear losing a child to neonatal tetanus.  

Southern Mali eliminates MNT 

© UNICEFUN0205718Njiokiktjien;

From the beginning of The Eliminate Project through August 2019, 26 countries have been validated for eliminating MNT. “Validation” means that in every district of that country there is fewer than one case of neonatal tetanus out of 1,000 live births.  

In some cases, however, it’s more effective for regions of a country to be validated one by one. Each of these is called a “partial validation.” In February, we celebrated a partial validation in the southern part of Mali — where approximately 90 percent of that nation’s population resides. 

Thanks to the work of so many people, countless women and babies are no longer at risk of this deadly disease. In addition, sustainable health systems are being strengthened. 

MNT experts and partners meet   

In November 2018, Kiwanis leaders joined other international organizations in New York City to discuss MNT elimination. The meeting began with technical experts reviewing progress, future steps and challenges with members of the Global MNT Elimination Initiative — which includes UNICEF, the World Health Organization, United Nations Population Fund and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

The next day, Kiwanis International and the Kiwanis Children’s Fund joined the discussion, along with other organizations working to eliminate MNT including LDS Charities, the Nigerian and Cameron ministries of health and BD, the tetanus toxoid vaccine manufacturer.  

Still at risk  

Since 2010, when The Eliminate Project began, the worldwide Kiwanis family has helped eliminate MNT in 26 countries. But the threat remains for mothers and babies in 13 nations: 

  • Africa (9): Angola, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Mali, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan. 
    • The Democratic Republic of Congo. (A validation survey will be conducted in 2019.)
  • Middle East (3): Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen. 
  • Asia Pacific (1): Papua New Guinea.