About Tetanus

What is MNT?
Where is MNT found?
MNT by the Numbers
A Preventable Tragedy
Glimpse of the Future
Frequently Asked Questions

What is MNT?

Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus (MNT) isn't just a fatal disease - it makes every moment of a baby's short life painful. The pain robs a mother of the chance to provide even the comfort of her touch.

In countries where people lack healthcare education and services, a baby can be infected with MNT during birth. Infection brings a disease that kills within days. That short lifetime is marked by stiffness, difficult breathing and convulsions triggered by the slightest sound or contact.

Where is MNT found?

25 countries around the world are still at serious risk due to MNT.

The list below outlines the location of these countries

Africa (16)
Angola, Central African Republic, Chad, DRC (Congo), Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritania, Mali, Guinea, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan

Middle East (4)
Afghanistan, India (18 of 33 states), Pakistan, Yemen

The Americas (1)

Asian Pacific (4)
Cambodia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines

MNT by the Numbers

9 - One baby dies every 9 minutes from neonatal tetanus

160 - 160 babies die each day from neonatal tetanus

2 - It costs just $2.00 to buy 3 vaccinations to protect a mother and her future children

25 - 25 countries remain at high risk of MNT

61 - Kiwanis will help save or protect 61 million mothers and their future babies

110 - We are aiming to raise $110 million globally to eliminate MNT by 2015

A Preventable Tragedy

In Sierra Leone, 19 year old Memunata gives birth to a healthy baby girl. But this joyous event has taken place on the floor of her home. And Memunata's childbirth has been assisted by a traditional but unskilled birth attendant. In fact, Memunata herself hasn't been fully immunized against tetanus.

The umbilical cord is cut with an unclean blade. Deadly tetanus spores, found in soil everywhere, infect the cord. Within days, tetanus has spread throughout the baby's body, causing muscle rigidity leading to locked jaw, arched spine, convulsions and difficulty breathing. The slightest sound, light or touch triggers painful spasms - robbing Memunata of the chance to provide even the comfort of a mother's embrace.

After a few days, the baby dies. Memunata is helpless. All she can do is watch. Every year, thousands of mothers share this pain. Thousands of babies will never laugh or play or dream about the future - or experience the bond between mother and child. We have a chance to protect these lives...and protect that crucial connection.

Glimpse of the Future

We understand the lifesaving nature of our project. And we know the scope of the work ahead.

When The Eliminate Project achieves its goals, what will success look like?

"What I saw in Cambodia was amazing" says Randy DeLay, chairman of The Eliminate Project's fundraising campaign. "Joy replaced the fear that used to come with pregnancy. We need to help make that happen for mothers and babies in other countries".

Thanks to ongoing healthcare and educational services, Cambodia is well on the way to eliminating MNT. That achievement is more than a figure on a spreadsheet.

It's the sight of Saem smiling with her first baby, a boy born healthy after his mother received vaccinations, iron tablets and consultations. It's the story of Yon Yarng, who was pregnant with her third child when she learned the importance of vaccination - thanks to the outreach program of Msar Krang health centre.

It's the presence of health centres in other Cambodian locations such as Kampong's Thorn's Barai district. Or the Village Health Support Group in Korky Chour village.

It's a glimpse of the future we're hoping for - and proof of the potential we are working towards.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is combating MNT so important now?

Every day in the developing world, 22,000 children die of preventable causes - before reaching their 5th birthday. The United Nations and other organisations have made it a priority to decrease this number. Kiwanis International is eliminating a disease that kills one baby every nine minutes. By targeting the poorest, most undeserved women and children on Earth, The Eliminate Project will pave the way for other interventions that will boost maternal health and child survival.

What about sustainability?

A women who receives three doses of tetanus vaccine is protected against tetanus for the majority of her child bearing years. When an immunized mother gives birth, she passes her immunity along to her child. The baby will require booster shots to remain protected. A portion of the funds raised by the Kiwanis family will be devoted to ongoing education and sustainability efforts.

How will the funds be used?

'Money raised through the purchase of vaccination packages here as part of The Eliminate Project, are given to the Kiwanis Australia District Charitable Foundation (KADCF). KADCF makes grants to UNICEF Australia who works with their partners in each country to direct funds to the MNT elimination efforts specific to each country'.


The Kiwanis Mother's Day Project supports The Eliminate Project in which Kiwanis is working in partnership with UNICEF. We are also very grateful to the following organisations and companies for their support: