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NZ-South Pacific Kiwanis Clubs Join Forces with UNICEF NZ

24 August 2011

New Zealand-South Pacific Kiwanis Clubs Join Forces with UNICEF NZ—Partnership aims to Eliminate Killer Diseases

Kiwanis Clubs of New Zealand-South Pacific have joined forces with UNICEF NZ (UN Children’s Fund) as part of a global effort to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT), a painful disease that kills one baby every nine minutes.

As the world’s largest single donor for MNT elimination, Kiwanis is aiming to raise US$110 million by 2015 for The Eliminate Project - a campaign that will help UNICEF fund a global immunisation of millions of mothers and their future babies.

Maternal and neonatal tetanus is typically contracted through unhygienic childbirth practices and is still rampant in 38 countries. The goal of The Eliminate Project is to eradicate this swift, debilitating but highly preventable disease by vaccinating women of childbearing age, which will not only protect the mothers but also the future of their babies.

“This is an opportunity for Kiwanis to once again change the world,” said Bob Reay, District Coordinator of Kiwanis New Zealand-South Pacific.

“We are in a position to make a difference and with the help of UNICEF we know that we will succeed,” says Reay.

Partnering with UNICEF, Kiwanis successfully completed its first global campaign for children to virtually eliminate iodine deficiency disorders (IDD), the leading cause of preventable mental disability. In 1994, Kiwanis raised and leveraged more than US$100 million, which helped change lives in 103 nations.

Dennis McKinlay, Executive Director at UNICEF NZ, said he is grateful for organisations like Kiwanis that step up and take action for the children of the world.

“The support we have received from Kiwanis in the past has been invaluable and we are thrilled to be working with them again globally and on a local level. UNICEF has the expertise, experience and partnerships to help every mother protect her unborn baby,” McKinlay said.

“The Eliminate Project will do more than protect women and babies from tetanus. It will help to create a path for other services such as clean water, nutrition and other vaccines to reach the world’s most vulnerable people.”

The funding will support UNICEF and its partners, who have already eliminated MNT in 20 countries, implement one of the biggest immunisation campaigns the world has seen. The Eliminate Project will serve those who live in developing countries, where healthcare is limited, and wipe out this cruel disease.

“For NZ$2.20 we can protect a mother and her future babies from this deadly but preventable disease,” said Stan Soderstrom, Executive Director of Kiwanis International.

“We can only do this with the support from our local clubs and with their participation, we will eliminate MNT.”

For more information about The Eliminate Project, please visit www.TheEliminateProject.org

ENDS

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