Kiwanis of American Canyon eliminate project

Kiwanis of American Canyon members, from left, Cheryl Joseph, Dori Preston, Charlotte Chiolero, Kevin Kain, Willie Preston and Joan Bennett celebrate the raising of more than $27,000 to help stop neonatal tetanus.

Submitted photo

The Kiwanis Club of American Canyon has been recognized for raising more than $27,000 to help eradicate maternal/neonatal tetanus, which kills thousands of newborn babies worldwide each year.

The American Canyon chapter was one of 69 Kiwanis clubs to take on the challenge of raising $26,000 for the Kiwanis Eliminate Project targeting maternal/neonatal tetanus, according to club member Joan Bennett.

As of last Wednesday, the club had raised $27,054, she said.

“I am very proud of our Kiwanians,” said Bennett.

The money raised by American Canyon members will help save “15,030 babies from a painful short death,” she said.

Overall, Kiwanis International has raised $110 million in cash and pledges since 2010, according to the Kiwanis Eliminate Project. The money will be used to purchase a vaccine that protects newborns and mothers from contracting the disease.

In recognition of their contributions, the American Canyon club received an “eliminate patch” for the chapter’s Kiwanis banner.

It took four years for the club — which has had 35-40 members — to come up with $27,054. Individual contributions ranged in size from $20 to more than $1,000.

“The individual contributions were as much as $1,250,” said Charlotte Chiolero, the club’s treasurer. “But some people contributed $1,250 more than once.”

Maternal/neonatal tetanus occurs as a result of unhygienic birthing practices, such as cutting the umbilical cord with unsterile instruments or using contaminated dressings, according to UNICEF.

In such conditions a bacterium (Clostridium tetani) enters the body through an open wound, releasing a toxin that attacks the central nervous system. Maternal/neonatal tetanus is said to strike rapidly, killing newborns soon after birth. Mothers can also be infected with tetanus during unsafe or unsanitary delivery, UNICEF says.

The disease is found in 16 countries: Afghanistan, Angola, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Yemen.