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BD Extends Decade-Long Support for UNICEF's Campaign to Eliminate Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus

Model Collaboration and Mother's Day Challenge Grant Demonstrate Effectiveness of Public-Private Partnerships to Address Unmet Global Health Needs

NEW YORK, and FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J., May 8 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Two days before Mother's Day, BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company), a leading global medical technology company, announced its continued support for the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) campaign to vaccinate mothers and children in developing countries against maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT). Representatives from BD and UNICEF highlighted this collaboration today by ringing the Opening Bell at the New York Stock Exchange.

"Observation of Mother's Day here in the U.S. is the perfect opportunity to reflect upon the toll tetanus takes on mothers and newborns in the developing world. Every day 25,000 children under the age of five die from preventable causes like tetanus," said Caryl M. Stern, President and CEO, U.S. Fund for UNICEF. "UNICEF began working with BD in 1997 to address the tetanus crisis, and since then we've made great strides toward eliminating this silent killer by vaccinating more than 64 million women and children in 37 countries. BD's recommitment to this campaign ensures that we will reach the day when zero children die from this preventable disease. I am excited that BD is challenging the public to join them in the fight to eliminate MNT."

BD pledged a $1 million cash donation over the next five years to support UNICEF's MNT activities. As the original and longest-serving corporate partner in UNICEF's MNT campaign, BD has provided more than $4 million in cash support and more than $3.7 million in product donations to the program, including more than 50 million BD SoloShot(TM) auto-disable syringes and nine million BD Uniject(TM) single-dose, non-reusable, prefilled injection devices. In addition, BD has challenged the public to join them in this effort by visiting to make a donation during the month of May in honor of Mother's Day.

"UNICEF's MNT campaign is a shining example of the dramatic impact public-private partnerships can have when the missions of the partners are aligned. Its success has helped the campaign attract more needed supporters," said Gary M. Cohen, BD Executive Vice President. "BD is proud that our work with UNICEF has helped strengthen the fight against this deadly disease in some of the world's most remote and underserved areas."

Through UNICEF's mass vaccination and public awareness activities, significant progress has been made in the fight against MNT. Just a decade ago, MNT was a major public health problem in 58 countries, responsible for the painful and needless deaths of 215,000 newborns and approximately 30,000 mothers every year, according to UNICEF. More than 81 million women of childbearing age and their newborns in some of the world's most remote places were protected against tetanus between 1999 and mid-2008. As a result of this campaign, a dramatic reduction in annual newborn deaths has occurred - from 215,000 in 1999 to 128,000 in 2004. Twelve countries and 15 of the 28 states in India have eliminated MNT, and many more countries are close to eliminating the disease.

About MNT

Tetanus is caused by the spores of Clostridium tetani, a bacterium that lives on dead or decaying matter. MNT represents a very high proportion of the total tetanus disease burden due mainly to inadequate immunization services, limited or absent clean delivery services and improper post-partum cord care. The majority of mothers and newborns dying of tetanus live in Africa and Southern and East Asia, generally in areas where women are poor, have little access to healthcare and have little information about safe delivery practices.

For babies born in unhygienic or otherwise unsafe conditions, tetanus spores can enter the umbilical cord stump, causing the violent spasms and stiffness that are characteristic of neonatal tetanus and fatal in more than 70 percent of cases. In adults, tetanus generally enters through an open wound or even a tiny pinprick. Women may be infected during deliveries carried out in unhygienic conditions. But the disease can easily be prevented. In the case of MNT, prevention lies in immunizing the mother and in conducting deliveries in hygienic conditions.


For more than 60 years, UNICEF has been the world's leading international children's organization, working in over 150 countries to address the ongoing problems that contribute to child mortality. UNICEF provides lifesaving nutrition, clean water, education, protection and emergency response saving more young lives than any other humanitarian organization in the world. While millions of children die every year of preventable causes like dehydration, upper respiratory infections and measles, UNICEF, with the support of partnering organizations and donors alike, has the global experience, resources and reach to give children the best hope of survival. For more information about UNICEF, please visit

About BD

BD is a leading global medical technology company that develops, manufactures and sells medical devices, instrument systems and reagents. The Company is dedicated to improving people's health throughout the world. BD is focused on improving drug delivery, enhancing the quality and speed of diagnosing infectious diseases and cancers, and advancing research, discovery and production of new drugs and vaccines. BD's capabilities are instrumental in combating many of the world's most pressing diseases. Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, BD employs approximately 28,000 people in approximately 50 countries throughout the world. The Company serves healthcare institutions, life science researchers, clinical laboratories, the pharmaceutical industry and the general public. For more information, please visit

SOURCE BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company); UNICEF
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