Over the next two years, USAID will invest $2.9 billion toward life-saving medications and vaccines that is estimated to save the lives of over 500,000 children. This is a positive sign that USAID is making good on its promise to end preventable child mortality by 2035.
The money is earmarked for a variety of solutions that have proven to be effective. The investment will go toward providing vaccines, family planning and improved nutrition and food to the areas where they are most needed.
The investment is part of a global initiative called the Child Survival Call to Action. The initiative began two years ago with the ambitious goal of eliminating the approximately 1.5 million preventable child deaths that occur every year. If the goal is reached, about 45 million children will be saved between now and 2035.
Since the initiative was launched, it has gained immense support from around the world; 174 governments have pledged to renew their efforts toward child-survival. In addition, 215 civil-society organizations and 221 faith-based organizations have joined the movement. Likewise in America, the initiative has benefited from support on both sides of the aisle.
According to USAID administrator Rajiv Shah, the initiative, “Has won strong bipartisan support at a time in Washington when bipartisan cooperation is sometimes difficult to come by.”
With the target date for the Millennium Development Goals rapidly approaching, this effort represents the next stage in the movement to end global poverty.
Progress on the fourth Millennium Development Goal has been particularly impressive. The fourth goal was to reduce child mortality by two-thirds by 2015. Though that goal has not yet been reached, immense progress has been made.
Despite a booming population growth, from 1990 to 2012, yearly child deaths have dropped from 12.4 million to 6.6 million.
In other words, 17,000 fewer children are dying every day.
While this progress is laudable, there is much work yet to be done. USAID’s recent reallocation of $2.9 billion to the effort will be instrumental to the goal of ending child mortality by 2035. What’s even more promising is that USAID’s contribution will represent but a fraction of the global effort that is currently underway to meet this ambitious goal.
– Sam Hillestad
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