Kiwanis Global Initiatives
Kiwanis International through its 8800 individual Kiwanis Clubs began in 1994 having a worldwide initiative that would better mankind. The first was the Iodine Deficiency Disorder (IDD) program. When this was completed, we began in 2004 the Maternal Neonatal Tetanus (MNT) project which was called the Eliminate Project for short. Individual Kiwanis Clubs around the world conducted many, many fundraisers to raise the millions of dollars needed for each project. Both were designed to be a 3 year project but actually has taken 5-6 years to complete. The Kiwanis Club of Reisterstown participated in both projects conducting many fundraisers for each project. Even though the recipients were not in our local community, these were supported for the overall health of the world. The details of each project are shown below.
ABOUT IODINE DEFICIENCY DISORDERS
In 1994, Kiwanis International partnered with UNICEF to eliminate iodine deficiency. An iodine-deficient diet can severely impair mental development, robbing a child of promise and potential. However, there is an effective weapon against IDD: iodized salt.
The Kiwanis family raised and leveraged more than US$100 million to eliminate IDD. Salt iodization is now considered one of the most successful public health achievements of the latter 20th century.
Today, salt production still needs to be monitored and tested. In fact, 19 million newborns are at risk of suffering brain damage every year because their mothers weren’t able to consume enough iodine while pregnant.
ABOUT THE ELIMINATE PROJECT
In 2010, Kiwanis International teamed up with UNICEF to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT) from the face of the Earth. Since then, the number of babies dying from this devastating but preventable disease has been reduced by nearly half.
But in 13 countries around the world, the joy of childbirth can still turn quickly into tragedy. MNT kills one baby every 17 minutes. Its effects are excruciating — tiny newborns suffer repeated, painful convulsions and extreme sensitivity to light and touch. There is little hope of survival. And tetanus kills mothers too.
But MNT is preventable. Just three doses of a vaccine protect mothers, who then pass on the immunity to their future babies. Together, we are not only stopping this disease — we are creating health-care networks and training community workers to keep it from returning.