New Legislation Paves the Way for the End of Preventable Maternal and Child Deaths
Washington, DC, July 30, 2015 — The U.S. Senate introduced new bipartisan legislation today that will help pave the way for the end of preventable maternal and child deaths. Led by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), the bill will enshrine important development reforms into law to help stop the needless deaths of mothers and children by 2035.
“Our lawmakers have an unprecedented opportunity to help solve one of the biggest challenges of our time,” said Dr. Joanne Carter, executive director of RESULTS and RESULTS Educational Fund. “If enacted into law, this new legislation will support countries around the world to save even more lives.”
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), along with its global partners, has been at the forefront of fighting child and maternal mortality. In 2012, together with 175 countries and 400 nonprofit organizations, USAID announced a bold new goal to end preventable child and maternal deaths by 2035.
In 2014, a Blue Ribbon panel of development and business experts, working at the invitation of USAID leadership, identified a series of specific reforms to address budget and management challenges in USAID’s maternal and child health programming. The agency has already begun implementing the panel’s recommendations, which include creating clear benchmarks for success, appointing a coordinator to manage its strategy, and realigning billions of dollars in existing grants to save over half a million additional lives by the end of 2015. These are positive steps, but more is needed to ensure that USAID stays on track to meet its ambitious goal.
That’s where the new Reach Every Mother and Child Act of 2015 comes in. It will ensure that critical measures to strengthen USAID’s programs — built on the panel’s recommendations — are enshrined into law. It will help USAID sharpen its focus on the poorest and most vulnerable people, scale up the methods that have been proven to work, and increase accountability and transparency at all levels.
“With Congress’ support and oversight for these important reforms, USAID can help move us toward a future where we can support countries to ensure every child has the healthy start to life that she deserves,” said Carter, a member of the Blue Ribbon panel.
Enormous progress has been made in the last 25 years, with the annual rate of under-five child deaths falling from 12.7 million to 6.3 million. But with 17,000 children still dying every day — from mostly preventable and treatable causes like diarrhea, pneumonia, and malaria — much more work remains.
“For the first time in our history, scientists and experts agree that we can put an end to the needless deaths of mothers and children all over the world,” Carter said. “This legislation is an investment in our world, and in all of our futures. The time to act is now.”
About RESULTS and RESULTS Educational Fund:
RESULTS and RESULTS Educational Fund are sister organizations that, together, are a leading force in ending poverty in the United States and around the world. We create long-term solutions to poverty by supporting programs that address its root causes — lack of access to health, education, or opportunity to move up the economic ladder. We empower ordinary people to become extraordinary voices for the end of poverty in their communities, the media, and the halls of government. The collective voices of these passionate grassroots activists leverage millions of dollars for programs and improved policies that give low-income people the tools they need to move out of poverty.