With help from organizations including Kiwanis, Guinea is the latest country to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus.

By Erin Chandler

Kiwanis International joins UNICEF and people around the world in celebrating the elimination of maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT) in Guinea. In May 2024, just one month after UNICEF confirmed MNT elimination in Mali, Guinea became the 49th country to achieve MNT elimination out of the priority countries identified in 1999. 

MNT is a painful and deadly disease that disproportionately affects areas where poverty, lack of education and inadequate health infrastructure make unhygienic birth practices more common. Kiwanis partnered with UNICEF in its global campaign to eliminate MNT in 2010, focusing on countries with more than one case of neonatal tetanus per 1,000 live births. Since then, twenty-nine priority countries have achieved MNT elimination status, significantly dropping the number of newborn deaths from tetanus. Now, MNT poses a significant threat in only 10 remaining priority countries. 

In 2023, the Kiwanis Children’s Fund granted US$275,000 to UNICEF USA to help facilitate mass tetanus vaccination campaigns for women of reproductive age in countries such as Guinea, Pakistan and Yemen. The grant also funded the assessments and surveys that validated the elimination of MNT in Guinea, and it will continue to strengthen the country’s health systems to ensure that MNT does not return in the future. 

Support for UNICEF’S fight against MNT is just one way Kiwanis has furthered the cause of children’s health around the world. Throughout the year, the Kiwanis Children’s Fund awards grants to clubs across the globe — like the Kiwanis Club of Lalbandi, which is working to provide autism screenings and therapies for families in Nepal; the Kiwanis Club of Libertad, which is helping to create a nutrition program at a primary school in Panama; and the Kiwanis Club of Wentzville, which is part of a partnership to build beds for kids who need them in Missouri, U.S. 

You can make a gift to the Children’s Fund today to make a healthier world possible for kids everywhere.