During the 2015 Call To Action Summit, health ministers and global experts take a look at the progress that has been made. USAID has helped save the lives of an estimated 2.5 million children and nearly 200,000 mothers since 2008.
It has been a little over a year, in June 2014, since USAID introduced its newest strategic plan for maternal and child health. They hope to prevent the deaths of 15 million children and 600,000 mothers by 2020.
At the summit the participants reviewed the impact the USAID’s support has had all around the world; often putting a name and a face to those benefitting from the aid provided.
In India, mothers like Satyawati now know how to best take care of their newborns and other children thanks to the ability to obtain health-related knowledge and help from a local health worker.
Because Satyawati has access to this information, she has had her children properly vaccinated and employs proper hygiene practices in her home. In 1990 in India, children under the age of five had a mortality rate of 126 per 1,000 live births but in 2013 that number has been reduced to 53 per 1,000 live births.
Also, thanks to the support of the USAID, 27 hospitals in Malawi now have a device called a Pumani bCPAP that helps newborns with underdeveloped lungs breathe until they can do so own their own.
This device has tripled the survival rate of babies like Gloria Mtawila’s son Joshua, who stayed on the machine for a month until he could breathe on his own and is now a completely healthy baby.
All across the world bundles of joy are being born to tired but radiant mothers. Hospital staff assures that both have the best possible care in these first crucial hours, days and sometimes weeks after childbirth.
But also all across the world there are mothers on makeshift cots or laying on dirt floors. They and their babies do not have dedicated hospital staff looking after them.
Mom did not have access to prenatal vitamins and baby may not have access to life-saving vaccines. With poor living conditions, poor pre and post-birth care, and a poor quality of life all around, mom and her little one may not make it.
This is what USAID is working to prevent. USAID’s maternal and child health programs focus on cost-effective initiatives such as enabling access to nutritional supplements and vaccines.
The USAID has achieved great success. Maternal death rates have decreased by five percent in each of its 24 target countries while child mortality rates went down by four percent.
But this is still not enough. The USAID hopes to receive $850 million in funding for the maternal and child health program in order “to reduce child mortality to 20 or fewer deaths per 1,000 live births in every country by 2035, and to end preventable maternal deaths” (interaction.org).
Through this initiative, the USAID has inspired developing countries to develop strategies to reach these goals, and make the eradication of unnecessary maternal and child deaths possible.
– Drusilla Gibbs