“Dead in seven days.” That’s not the title of a crime thriller, but the cruel reality for newborn babies and their mothers if the tetanus bacterium, which is mainly in the ground, gets its way through the open wound of the umbilical cord. And there is only one help: to get the tetanus serum in time, prior to the injury.
Convinced of the importance of protecting mothers and their future babies from the “Seven-Days Death,” four Allgäu Kiwanis clubs in Immenstadt, Kempten, Oberallgäu and Oberstdorf of Bavaria, Germany, decided to organize an evening lecture about maternal and neonatal tetanus. The evening was open to public with the hope of collecting money to support Kiwanis’ Eliminate Project.
Kempten Hospital offered the use of its modern lecture room free of charge, and local new media published articles to inform the public about the event and the problem.
“When the evening came, we were glad to see the lecture room nearly completely filled,” reports Peter Wüllenweber, a member of the Bayreuth, Germany, Kiwanis Club and a multi-division coordinator for The Eliminate Project campaign.
Marita Anwander, a medical doctor who had worked for Doctors Without Borders, was the featured speaker.
“She had already seen the unbelievable unhygienic conditions under which women in poor countries have to give birth,” Wüllenweber reports. “She called tetanus the “Seven Days Death,” as it takes about seven days from the infection to death. She described how horrible the dying of tetanus is, that the mothers cannot do anything for their babies. The audience was deeply touched by her lecture.
The lecture’s collection helped the four Allgäu clubs give €5,850 for The Eliminate Project.