Saving the Lives of Moms and Kids
Since 1990 the number of under-five child deaths around the world have been cut in half—saving 17,000 lives each day. Additionally, maternal mortality has dropped by 45 percent. This incredible progress in large part is due to U.S. commitments and leadership to ending preventable child and maternal deaths. However, the number of children and their mothers dying each day from preventable causes is still far too high.
That is why EGPAF joined World Vision and Save the Children on Capitol Hill this week for a panel discussion on Saving the Lives of Moms and Kids. The briefing, co-sponsored by the Congressional Global Health Caucus highlighted how U.S. funded programming is working in the field to save lives.
Dr. Ariel Pablos-Mendéz, Assistant Administrator for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) opened the discussion by highlighting the role that USAID plays, especially with concerns to global leadership on the issue, particularly through Acting on the Call. He noted that the creation of Acting on the Call was not just talk in Washington D.C., but that countries went back and took ownership over the initiative, which has been critical for scaling up key interventions.
Dr. Jennifer Kates, Vice President, and Director for Global Health Policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation then led a discussion among leaders from the hosting organizations.
Robert Clay, Vice President of Global Health at Save the Children US spoke to his own personal experiences of working in the field over 20 years. He noted the impact simple interventions like oral rehydration solution can have on one the major causes of child mortality, like diarrhea. Bringing interventions like these to scale can lead to ending preventable child deaths within a generation.
Dr. Asrat Dibaba, Director for the Health, HIV/AIDS, and Nutrition Center for World Vision East Africa highlighted the importance of healthy spacing and timing of pregnancies for both the health of moms and their children. He noted the important role that faith leaders play in ensuring that women and their families are informed on their options for spacing their children, particularly at the community level.
Finally, Dr. Stephen Lee, Vice President for Program Implementation and Country Management at EGPAF discussed the intersection of HIV and maternal and child health. HIV is the leading cause of death for women of reproductive age, and a huge contributor to under-five deaths of children in countries with a high HIV burden. Dr. Lee stressed the importance of integrated programming for HIV and maternal child health as a critical factor in ensuring the health of all women and their children.
Organizations like EGPAF, Save the Children and World Vision work in country on the ground to save and improve the lives of mothers, children and their families, as well as in the U.S. to advocate for continued U.S. leadership and resources to work towards ending preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths once and for all.