The next big project by Kiwanis International, the elimination of maternal and neonatal tetanus worldwide, was detailed for the Monett club by Jerry Martin, Kiwanis district coordinator for the undertaking.
The first service project Kiwanis International began was in 1994 to address iodine deficiency. The goal in that effort was to raise $80 million. The new project involves working in 104 countries in conjunction with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).
"Tetanus striking pregnant women and very young children kills a baby every nine minutes," Martin said. "A series of three doses of a tetanus vaccine, costing approximately $1.80 per person, can make a person immune from tetanus and save 61 million women and babies."
To reach the goal, Kiwanians will have to raise $110 million to eradicate the disease by 2015, the year Kiwanis as a service organization reaches its 100th birthday. Since Oct. 15, 2012, the Eliminate Project has raised more than $19.3 million. Vaccinations have already projected 10 million mothers and their babies in 24 countries.
In the first year of the program, the Monett club donated $2,000, adding $1,000 in the second year. Martin said Monett is one of six clubs out of the 200 in the Mo-Ark District to support the project and to date has been the leading contributor.
Kiwanians in the Mo-Ark District raised $1.5 million in the effort to eliminate iodine deficiency. Monett was one of the top 10 clubs in the effort, when the district had 300 organizations.
The current effort translates into each of the 6,000 members in the Mo-Ark District donating $63.
Martin encouraged members to offer their energies and resources to a cause that helps children worldwide. Accompanying Martin were fellow members of the Springdale, Ark. club, Jeannie Harp and Dorothy Campbell.
Program chairman Norm Hammond introduced Martin. Kiwanis President Gordon Brown presided over the meeting.
In club news, Kiwanians will help members of the Key Club ring the bell for the Salvation Army at the Monett Walmart Supercenter on Dec. 20. The club's annual Christmas party for children will host all of the Monett R-1 School District third graders on Dec. 20 at the First United Methodist Church in Monett.
The Monett Kiwanis Club meets at noon on Tuesdays for a meal and a program, usually at Happy House restaurant.