The Problem & Solution

Acting on the Call. Ending Preventable Child and Maternal Deaths

Everyday this year, 17,000 more children will live and 650 more mothers will survive childbirth than each day in 1990. Sadly, women and children are still dying in alarming numbers from preventable causes. Each year, 289,000 women die from pregnancy-related causes and 6.3 million children die before their fifth birthdays – 44 percent of them in their first month of life. That translates to 18,000 children under the age of 5 and 800 pregnant women or women in childbirth dying every day.

The disparity between rich and poor nations is still staggering. A child born in a low-income country is still about 18 times more likely to die before the age of 5 than a child born in a wealthy country. And over a lifetime, a woman’s risk of dying as a result of pregnancy and birth – at what should be the most joyous moment of her life – in a low-income country is over 40 times higher than here in the United States.

The vast majority of maternal deaths and child deaths are preventable. With a smart, focused, innovative approach, we can save millions of mothers and their children and create ripples of change that transform the future of families and their countries.

June 2015 marks the third anniversary of the Child Survival Call to Action and the launch of Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed. The Call to Action was a catalytic event, leading to increased mobilization of resources and efforts. The challenge going forward is to align all actors around those actions that can have the greatest enduring impact.

On June 25, 2014, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Governments of Ethiopia and India, in collaboration with UNICEF and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, came together for a high-level forum called Acting on the Call: Ending Preventable Child and Maternal Deaths to celebrate progress, assess the challenges that remain and identify the steps needed to sustain momentum in the future.

Learn more by reading the newly released action plan "Acting on the Call: Ending Preventable Child and Maternal Deaths" to save the lives of 15 million children and nearly 600,000 women by 2020 - a milestone in President Obama's goal to joint the world in ending extreme poverty, hunger and child death in the next two decades. The action plan delineates how 24 priority countries will dramatically accelerate progress in maternal and child survival.

Last updated: June 11, 2015

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