Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

November 26, 2011

Local Kiwanis clubs raising funds for vaccines

GOSHEN — The international Kiwanis organization it teaming up with UNICEF to eliminate deaths caused by maternal and neonatal tetanus, which is a health hazard in about 40 countries.

The organizations want to raise $110 million by 2015 to provide the vaccine to protect 61 million people and save thousands of lives.

“A baby dies every nine minutes, and a mother dies every 20 minutes” from the tetanus disease, said Gus Hawkins, a Kiwanis lieutenant governor in northern Indiana and advocate for the Eliminate Project. Hawkins was guest speaker at the Goshen Noon Kiwanis meeting Nov. 15.

After the Kiwanis organization recently raised more than $100 million to eliminate diseases associated with iodine deficiency, the next project will attack tetanus, provide vaccine and save lives in Third World countries.

“The vaccine has existed for decades,” Hawkins said.

It is routinely given in America and other developed countries. The illness is caused by bacteria in the earth and the infection can be spread from mother to child.

The vaccine costs 60 cents per shot and a mother needs to receive a series of three doses. He said 129 million mothers and their future children are at risk.

“The focus is on mothers and children,” he said.

“Our job is to provide the money,” Hawkins told the Goshen group, encouraging members to give something up, such as one cup of coffee per day and contribute that amount to the project.

Hawkins suggested he may forego haircuts for a time.

Each local club will decide its level of involvement and pledges it will make.

“We need to get it done,” Hawkins said Tuesday.

More information is available on the website www.eliminate.org, he said.

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