Story by Sydney Ledwith-Jensen - Staff Writer/Student
Photo by Kathy Ebenal
Ever step on a nail and had to get a tetanus shot? America and many other developed countries have that option because they have the resources and advanced health care to do so. However, there still remains 31 less developed countries with maternal and neonatal tetanus, but thanks to the efforts of Key Club, relief is in the near future.
Over the course of two weeks leading up to Halloween, OCHS Key Clubbers raised $219 dollars towards Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF. All the profits were given to the ELIMINATE Project.
Thousands of Key Clubbers all around the world participate in Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF every year. Key Club is partnered with Kiwanis International, who partners with many organizations that help the children of the world, like UNICEF —United Nations Children’s Fund. In the past, the money went towards eradicating iodine deficiency. Now that that’s obsolete, the money goes towards eliminating maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT) in less developed countries.
MNT is an infectious, often fatal disease characterized by respiratory paralysis, tonic spasms and rigidity of the voluntary muscles. In places like India, Afghanistan and Kenya, a child is birthed, and the umbilical cord is cut with unsanitary tools. This can lead to a painful death of shakes the mother can only watch.
Despite this, these seemingly invisible populations can be helped. A baby doesn’t have to die every nine minutes, because $1.80 can provide a vaccination to protect a mother and her future children. Hopefully, by 2015, $110m can be raised to rid the world of MNT.
UNICEF and its partners have combated MNT across the globe through education, outreach and mass immunization drives. In addition to delivering tetanus vaccines to even the remotest areas by any means necessary—including on horseback and even on foot—UNICEF has trained traditional midwives and birth attendants in safe birthing practices, and distributed safe birthing kits. To help stem the tide of MNT, UNICEF has also supported prenatal care and a wide range of other maternal and newborn health services.
Here in Oregon City, Key Club carried around their boxes throughout the school day. Some spoke of the cause, while others gave full presentations. They took their boxes home and decorated them. Some even went trick-or-treating. The person who raised the most money won a Dutch Bros. gift card.
“I personally work with UNICEF because it is a really easy way to get peers connected with helping our community and those in need. Key Club worked really hard for two weeks to raise money for others, and I’m so proud of each and every one of them,” said Sherry Reeder, Key Club President.
For more information on the ELIMINATE Project visit theEliminateProject.org.
For more information on Key Club, check the Key Club bulletin board in lower B hall, listen for announcements and attend meetings every Friday at 7am in B105.
For more information about MNT and the global effort to stop it, watch this video produced by Kiwanis International and UNICEF.