Working in partnership with international institutions, non-governmental organizations, private foundations and governments, the United States has for many years worked to reduce child and maternal deaths.
Our combined efforts have not been in vain: between 1990 and 2012, child deaths have decreased by half. Nonetheless, every year, 289,000 mothers die as a result of childbirth, and 6.6 million children do not survive to their fifth birthday.
So, two years ago, the governments of Ethiopia, India, and the United States, in collaboration with UNICEF hosted a Child Survival Call to Action: a sustained, global effort to save children’s lives. The goal was to end preventable child deaths by the year 2035, and to continue progress in those nations already below that rate.
Since then, 177 nations and over 450 organizations stepped up to join the effort.
On June 25th,USAID joined with the governments of Ethiopia, India, in collaboration with UNICEF and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to celebrate progress over the past two years, and accelerate action to achieve our goal. The occasion was dubbed Acting on the Call: Ending Preventable Child and Maternal Deaths.
USAID examined the results of its past efforts, as well as the situation on the ground, and launched an action plan to accelerate progress toward the ultimate goal of eliminating preventable child and maternal deaths. In this plan, USAID outlines how it will work with partners to save the lives of fifteen million children and 600,000 women by 2020.
Many of the countries that have taken part in U.S.-supported child and maternal health programs have made enormous progress. Thus, over the next two years, the United States will realign 2.9 billion dollars in funding and focus efforts in 24 countries that today account for more than 70 percent of maternal and child deaths and half of the global unmet need for family planning. This move will allow USAID to save an addition 500,000 child lives, said Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID.
“We are partnering with engines of innovation — corporations, foundations, NGOs, faith-based communities, entrepreneurs and local leaders—to solve one of the greatest development challenges: ending extreme poverty and building thriving, resilient societies. We know that, by working with the global community, we can end preventable child and maternal deaths.”