USAID has played a vital role for decades in the development and delivery of low-cost, high-impact interventions to reach the most vulnerable children around the
world. These long-term investments have been paying dividends. In the 24 countries
where USAID focuses its maternal and child health effort, maternal mortality declined
by 40 to 65 percent. Under the President’s Malaria Initiative, 12 of the focus countries
have had reductions in childhood mortality rates, which ranged from 16 to 50 percent.
Family planning helps women bear children at the healthiest times so mother
and child are both more likely to survive and stay healthy. A USAID-supported analysis
found that if all birth-to-pregnancy intervals were increased to 3 years, 1.6 million
under-5 deaths could be prevented annually. Children born close together are at
increased risk of contracting and dying from infectious diseases and have higher
rates of malnutrition. As the largest bilateral donor of family planning, USAID
works in more than 45 countries across the globe to increase access to family planning
information and services.
Undernutrition is linked to 45 percent of under-5 deaths. Nutrition in the first
1,000 days of life, from when a woman becomes pregnant to her child's second birthday,
offers an incredible opportunity to impact a child's ability to grown, learn and
climb out of poverty. Undernutrition can weaken a child's immune system and make
him or her more susceptible to dying from common illnesses.
The United States continues to be a leader in fighting undernutrition. USAID is
pleased to be part of the
Scale Up Nutrition (SUN) global movement, which encourages
increased political commitment and programmatic alignment to accelerate reductions
in global hunger and undernutrition, and promotes a focus on the 1,000-day window
of opportunity from pregnancy to a child’s second birthday.
An HIV-positive woman must have access to medication to give birth to an HIV-free
baby. USAID and implementing partners have provided PMTCT services to more than
750,000 HIV-positive women, which resulted in 230,000 infants being born free of
Managing birth asphyxia:
Every year, 1 million babies die in their first minutes of life because they do not
receive enough oxygen. Managing birth asphyxia does not take expensive drugs; it
requires some very basic medical training. USAID is working to manage birth asphyxia
through supporting resuscitation training and equipment in partnership with the
private sector in more than 50 countries.
Clean cord care:
A baby’s newly cut umbilical cord can be an entry point for bacteria, which can
lead to potentially life-threatening sepsis. Using inexpensive chlorhexidine digluconate
to cleanse a cord is a cost-effective strategy to reduce neonatal mortality that
can be used by all levels of health workers, regardless of where women deliver.
Kangaroo mother care:
In low-resource settings, preterm infants can be cared for using kangaroo mother
care. Keeping a newborn infant warm is one of the most important things that can
be done to ensure that newborns, particularly premature newborns, survive. Kangaroo
mother care includes exclusive and frequent breastfeeding, extensive skin-to-skin
contact and support for the mother-infant relationship.
Vaccines are the best public health investment we can make. USAID continues to strengthen
vaccination programs and supports research on new vaccines. Together with other
donors, the Obama Administration’s $450 million, multi-year commitment to
the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI) will help save 4 million
children over the next 5 years.
Sanitation and hygiene:
Pneumonia and diarrhea are the leading killers of children. Handwashing with soap
can cut deaths from diarrhea by almost half and from acute respiratory infections
by a quarter. USAID is working to provide access to clean drinking water to encourage
handwashing with soap and to provide safe excrement disposal methods.
ORS and zinc have been proven to be highly effective in
reducing the effects of diarrhea, one of the leading killers of children under 5.
In June 2012, USAID signed a public-private partnership in which $20 million was
pledged to support diarrhea treatment programs, including the scale-up of the inexpensive
and effective ORS plus zinc combination.
Malaria accounts for 30 to 40 percent of hospital visits for children under 5 in
most African countries. By combating malaria, we are freeing up hospital beds and
resources for other children. Nets and indoor spraying have reduced childhood malaria
deaths in sub-Saharan Africa by as much as 50 percent.
The Global Roadmap
The Global Roadmap [PDF, 7.4MB], unveiled at the
Call to Action launch event, pulls together the world’s knowledge about
how to accelerate child survival, drawing on the latest peer-reviewed statistics
and modeling of the global health community. The Global Roadmap includes five strategic
shifts in how we "do business."
- Increasing efforts in the 25 countries that currently (2013) account for 75 percent
of under-5 deaths
- Scaling up access to underserved populations
- Addressing the priority causes that account for nearly 60 percent of deaths:
- Neonatal conditions
- Preterm birth complications
- Investing beyond health programs to include empowering women
- Unifying around a shared goal and using common metrics to track progress