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Mexican-born actress Salma Hayek was at the United Nations in New York on Thursday to talk about her recent trip to Sierra Leone, where she met with victims of tetanus.

The 42-year-old is supporting a UNICEF campaign to eradicate tetanus in mothers and babies around the world within four years.

“One of the things that was very moving about the trip was to see 15-year-old girls, really young, taking responsibility for their lives and their children before they’re born by saying ‘I am going to be healthy, I am going to take this vaccination,’” she said. “I had no idea how much this was going to really personally move me,”

The West African nation of Sierra Leone is among 50 countries where newborn babies and mothers die of tetanus, a disease that has been eradicated in industrial countries.

The Pampers UNICEF 1 Pack = 1 Vaccine Campaign – an initiative started in Britain in 2006 – has funded over 50 million vaccines. The new drive aims to raise 200 million vaccines over the next three years.

As part of the campaign, Procter & Gamble has pledged to donate a vaccine for each specially-marked pack of Pampers diapers sold through to the end of the year. UNICEF hopes to wipe out the disease, blamed for the deaths of 140,000 babies and 30,000 mothers each year, by 2012.

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