Global Health

  • On World Malaria Day, USAID commemorates the global fight against malaria.

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  • USAID joins the global health community in commemorating World Health Worker Week from April 6-10.

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  • World TB Day 2015

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  • On International Women’s Day, USAID is celebrating and advancing the incredible potential of women.

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  • The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) joins the global community in observing February 6th as the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation.

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  • New podcast in The Lancet with Ellen Starbird, Director of USAID's Office of Population and Reproductive Health, discussing its 50th anniversary.

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  • The Vision for Action: Evidence for Strategic Approaches is a technical document which provides evidence for the Vision’s approach and for each strategic driver. [PDF, 3MB]

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Farmer Vo Duy Ich, right, works closely with veterinary officials in Laos to ensure that his flock of layer ducks stays healthy.
Protecting Humans from Animal Diseases in Asia
A lab worker in the micro-bacterial research lab at Anandaban Hospital in Nepal.
Nepal's Leprosy Patients Walk a New Path
Estefania Hernandez, left, and Nairobi Castillo
Dominican Republic Activists Work to Advance Transgender Health Care

In 2013, 6.3 million children died before their fifth birthday.

The year before, 289,000 women died during pregnancy or childbirth and there were 390,000 new HIV infections in children, with the odds in life already stacked against them. Infectious, life-threatening diseases like pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria are further exacerbated by endemic rates of malnutrition and poor access to health services.

While the death of a mother is a tragedy in itself, it has devastating effects for the survival of her children, the economic stability of the family, and the productivity of the community. Children who are healthy avoid permanent disability and spend more time in school. Healthy children grow into healthy adults, who miss fewer days of work, earn more wages, and contribute to strong economies.

We’ve seen extraordinary progress over the last 50 years, as child mortality rates around the world have declined by 70 percent. In just the last two decades, 50 million children were saved, and people are living 21 years longer on average.

USAID is a vital part of that progress.

Our long-term investments in maternal and neonatal health and voluntary family planning have been paying dividends, among them:

  • In 24 countries where we've been heavily involved, maternal mortality declined by 40 to 65 percent.
  • Eleven of the President’s Malaria Initiative focus countries have had reductions in childhood mortality rates, which ranged from 16 to 50 percent. 
  • In one year, USAID-supported programs provided 29 million infants and children with vitamin A supplementation in six countries.

Today, the global community has the knowledge and the tools to do much more.

  • New vaccines against diarrhea and pneumonia, bed nets to protect against malaria, nutrition supplements for pregnant women and young children and a host of similar low-cost, life-saving technologies could save nearly 6 million children a year.
  • At the same time, our family planning programs enable women to have children at their healthiest times, so that both the mother and infant are more likely to survive.

If we can reach children and their mothers with these simple interventions, then we can help achieve the incredible goal of ending preventable child and maternal deaths.

To help realize this vision, we’re making strategic investments that contribute to:

  • Reducing maternal mortality by 30 percent
  • Reducing under-five child mortality by 35 percent
  • Preventing 54 million unintended pregnancies
  • Halving the burden of malaria for 450 million people, representing 70 percent of the at-risk population in Africa

Learn more about A Promise Renewed, the 5th Birthday CampaignGlobal Health Initiative and our work with a wide array of partners to end preventable child deaths.

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Last updated: June 25, 2015

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