Patrick Ewing -  The Eliminate Project

Patrick Ewing is often involved with serious projects, but you will rarely find him taking himself seriously. It's not unusual to see Patrick volunteer to sit as a target in a dunking tank, or allow himself to be smashed with cream pies. I have, on a few occasions, seen him address an important group of dignitaries while wearing a chicken suit.

Patrick is a former Kiwanis Governor; he has chaired the Pacific North West District membership committee, marketing committee, served as magazine editor and K-Kids administrator. He's now a candidate for the position of Kiwanis International Trustee as well as being PNW Co Chair for the Kiwanis Eliminate Project.

The Eliminate Project's goal is to eliminate maternal neonatal tetanus (MNT) worldwide. 
Patrick Ewing lives in Victoria BC.  He, along with John Howe, Co Chair the Eliminate Project for the Kiwanis Pacific Northwest District. The Kiwanis PNW District stretches from Alaska, through the Yukon, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, panhandle of Idaho and terminates in Weed California.

Late, this last October, I saw Patrick and his lovely wife, Kristina, at our Kiwanis Tri K Family convention in Portland, Oregon. (Tri K stands for the Kiwanis family of Circle K, Key Club, and Kiwanis). Patrick seemed to bubble over with enthusiasm. "We have just eliminated MNT in two more countries, China and East Timor."

I knew where China was, but I didn't have the slightest inkling about East Timor. I'd never heard of that country. I checked the CIA World Fact book and found out that East Timor is actually called the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste. It's a small country on the Island of Timor in SE Asia. This country occupies the eastern half of Timor; Indonesia occupies the other half.
MNT is a terrible disease and very preventable. According to Patrick, this disease killed over 58,000 newborns in 2010. A large number of mothers died as well. The fatality rate in many third world countries can be up to 100%. Even with hospital care, only 10-60% of affective people survive. MNT is often caused when the umbilical cord is cut with unsanitary implements or when a person assists with a birth and fails to wash their hands or instruments.

My wife (who is the Kiwanis PNW Chair for young children) commented, "It's a horrible and very painful disease. It takes 5-8 days to kill its victims and they are in pain the entire time. An infant has to be completely covered because even light or sound can cause terrible pain...The pain never stops."

Patrick nodded, "MNT  can be prevented. All it takes is a tetanus shot;  $1.80 will pay for a series of three shots. These shots will immunize both the mother and her unborn child."
I mentioned to Patrick that next week will be Halloween and our High School Key Club will be trick or treating for UNICEF. All the money that they collect will go toward the Eliminate Project.  I could see that this news pleased him.

The World Health Assembly asked for the elimination of neonatal tetanus in 1989. At that time there were 57 countries that had not eliminated MNT.

In 2011 it was estimated that one baby would die from Maternal Neonatal Tetanus every nine minutes, this means that 160 babies a day die from this disease. 

In 2010 Kiwanis International adopted MNT elimination as a goal for their International project. They are partnering with UNICEF (United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund), WHO (World Health Organization) UNPFA (United Nations Population Fund, Becton Dickinson, USAID, CDC, Immunization Basics, Government of Japan, Save the Children, GAVI, Pampers, PATH, RMC and The Gates Foundation.

Patrick explained that it is a Kiwanis goal to make up for the UN funding shortfall of $110 million. "We plan to raise this money by 2015. If we can, we will become the world's largest single donor for MNT elimination."

Patrick grinned: "Kiwanis has done this before, with our last International project we managed to successfully eliminate worldwide Iodine deficiency, a major cause of mental retardation. We can certainly do it again!

Patrick may not take himself seriously, but he is continually doing some seriously good things.  The Eliminate project is one way that Kiwanis can show the world that they are true to their motto.
'Serving the Children of the World.' Through their actions they will help create a better world for all." 

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