There is much to celebrate in maternal and child health, said U.S. Agency for International Development Deputy Administrator Bonnie Glick. At the same time, she added, much remains to be done, and it will remain a top priority for USAID.
Over the past decade, USAID and its partners have helped save the lives of more than five million children and 200,000 women in 25 priority countries. Ms. Glick noted, “That’s five million potential leaders, innovators, entrepreneurs, and peacemakers who will now have the chance to help carry their countries forward into a brighter future. And 200,000 moms who will be around to help raise, nurture, support and encourage them along the way.”
In just five years, USAID’s flagship Maternal and Child Survival Program has improved health facility and community care in 32 countries, benefiting more than 200 million people.
In Burma, the Maternal and Child Survival Program is working to build up the Myanmar Nurse Midwife Council and the Myanmar Nurse and Midwifery Association. As a result, these two organizations will be able to provide more and better-trained health care providers in the field.
Five years ago, the very first Acting on the Call report laid out a country-by-country strategy to scale up high-impact interventions to save the lives of women and children. “Every year,” said Deputy Administrator Glick, “we continue to refine our efforts to ensure our investments have the maximum impact.”
USAID recognizes the need to diversify and expand health care resources to continue reaching deeper into remote populations. And like the rest of the development sector, health care is increasingly turning to the private sector, along with civil society and faith-based organizations, as sources of not only funding but innovative approaches to longstanding problems.
USAID, said Ms. Glick “want(s) to encourage entrepreneurship and ingenuity in program design, and embrace approaches that allow us as an agency to move more quickly in crafting initiatives and considering submissions.” This calls for expanding USAID’s partner base beyond the traditional, mostly larger organizations.
As more countries embrace self-reliance, USAID will focus on pulling together new ideas, partners, and resources to help meet humanitarian and development goals. USAID’s message to its partner countries remains: we will walk alongside you, we will help you reach your national goals, and we will be a steadfast and reliable ally on your journey to self-reliance.