A mother of three children, Stern says this campaign is personal.
"Every day 22,000 children die of causes we know how to prevent," Stern told ABC News. "That is a really hard number to get your head around, but when you sit and have to look into the eyes of that mom who just lost her child, you realize that one is one too many."
Tetanus, often referred to as "the silent killer," is caused by bacteria contaminating open wounds and continues to be a major health problem in developing countries. Its effects are excruciatingly painful and last several days, affecting all skeletal muscles, resulting in uncontrollable, seizurelike spasms. In severe cases, tetanus causes the jaw to lock and affects the muscles used for breathing.
Most commonly, the disease is caused by the contamination of the umbilical cord if it is cut with a non-sterile instrument. When tetanus develops, mortality rates are extremely high, especially without the availability of appropriate medical care. If a newborn contracts the disease, there is very little hope for survival and often tetanus takes the life of the mother as well.
"One of the things we talk about in this project is that there is a connection between a mother and child," Penn said. "Tetanus breaks that connection."
For more information on The Eliminate Project and how you can get involved, visit www.SaveOne.net.