Maternal and Child Survival

Global Health News

June 2018

Maternal and Child SurvivalTwo Nigerian students receive medicine for NTDs. Photo credit: Ruth McDowall for RTI International.

Photo credit: Mubeen Siddiqui/MCSP

Women play invaluable roles in their families, communities and societies. Empowering women and ensuring they have access to life-saving care affords them the opportunity to transform the lives of their children, families, communities and nations.

USAID leverages new ideas, mobilizes domestic resources and accelerates global progress by uniting new partners around a common goal: ensure women have the same chance of survival, regardless of where they are born.


Announcing USAID's 2018 Acting on the Call Report

USAID's goals for engaging the private sector in global health.

Photo credit: Abir Abdullah

In 2012, USAID gathered country governments, academia, the private sector and civil society in Washington D.C. to agree upon one achievable goal in the 2012 Call to Action: ensure children everywhere have the same chance of survival.

We are pleased to share the Agency’s 2018 Acting on the Call report, detailing our progress since the 2012 Call to Action. This year’s report focuses on how we partner with 25 countries on their journey to self-reliance for preventing child and maternal deaths by enabling countries to plan, fund and manage their own continued progress. For the first time ever, our report includes a return on investment analysis: USAID’s work to save women and children can yield an average 6 to 1 return on investment, resulting in $26.9 billion made available to the health sector by 2025. You can learn more in the 2018 Acting on the Call report, fact sheet [PDF, 2.8MB] and country stories.

Join the conversation on social media using our resource guide and #MomAndBaby.


Preventing the Spread of HIV from Mother to Child

Two young women dance during an event for the DREAMS partnership.

Photo credit: Jon Hrusa/EPA

The transmission of HIV from mother-to-child during pregnancy remains the leading cause of HIV infection in children. Under the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), USAID helped launch the first prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) programs in an effort to help keep HIV-infected pregnant and breastfeeding mothers from spreading the virus to their babies. The Agency works with partners, including the Strengthening High Impact Interventions for an AIDS-free Generation (AIDSFree) Project, to implement PMTCT interventions like supporting the expansion of lifelong antiretroviral treatment for HIV-positive pregnant women.

Today, PMTCT programming has enabled more than 2.2 million babies to be born HIV-negative who would have otherwise been infected and has also contributed to a reduction in maternal mortality rates. PMTCT programming continues to be PEPFAR’s most high-impact and cost-effective HIV/AIDS intervention, ensuring families can live healthier and more productive lives and bringing us closer to achieving epidemic control. To learn more about PEPFAR’s PMTCT efforts, watch Nelly’s story, a PMTCT-beneficiary who is now helping other HIV-positive pregnant women keep their babies HIV-free.


How Global Health Innovations are Saving Mothers’ Lives

A woman and child, sit on a porch where medical supplies are being delivered. Photo credit: The Coca-Cola Company

Photo credit: Massachusetts General Hospital

While women demand equity in health care throughout their lives, there is no other milestone as poignantly deserving as the moment when a woman becomes a mother. Through the Saving Lives at Birth partnership, USAID supports a diverse pipeline of 115 unique innovations that addresses critical challenges for mothers and their babies.

With Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), we are helping tackle the most common cause of maternal morbidity and mortality in developing countries, postpartum hemorrhage (bleeding after birth). Through Saving Lives at Birth support, MGH is scaling up its next-generation uterine balloon tamponade system and training curriculum for health care workers who treat uncontrolled postpartum hemorrhage. They have introduced the device in over 550 facilities across Kenya and Sierra Leone and saved over 600 lives, while encouraging interest and use in 22 countries. Read more.




USAID Podcasts

PODCAST – Acting on the Call 2018

A conversation with John Borrazzo, Deputy Director of the Office of Maternal Child Health and Nutrition at USAID about the 2018 Acting on the Call report.

Download a transcript of this podcast [PDF, 144KB].

Photograph of John Borrazzo


Photo of two female health workers in the DRC wearing protective suits.

Photo credit: WHO

World Health Organization Releases Preferred Product Characteristics for Personal Protective Equipment Guidance

USAID’s Fighting Ebola Grand Challenge identified innovations for improving Ebola response efforts, including redesigning personal protective equipment (PPE) for improved health care worker comfort and safety. As a result, this work inspired the development of the Preferred Product Characteristics for PPE for Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers in Tropical Climates publication, which aims to provide guidance for industry, health workers, engineers, innovators, and medical and scientific researchers to create a better PPE system that will increase the comfort and safety of health care workers responding to Ebola or other viral hemorrhagic fevers in tropical climates.

USAID facilitated the development of a technical advisory committee to update World Health Organization (WHO) guidance for PPE procurement and use for viral hemorrhagic fevers, as well as for identifying specific characteristics that would make PPE more comfortable and safe for use in tropical climates. The Committee included members from WHO, UNICEF, Medecine Sans Frontiers, USAID, U.S. Centers for Disease Control, health care workers, and academic and governmental organizations.

Photo of a doctor in a clean room testing diseases. Photo credit: Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

Photo credit: Amy Fowler/USAID

Saving Mothers, Giving Life Announces Unprecedented Results in sub-Saharan Africa

We are pleased to share the unprecedented results that the Saving Mothers, Giving Life public-private partnership, of which USAID is a founding partner, achieved in reducing maternal and newborn mortality in the final report [PDF, 5.4MB]. In the five-year Saving Mothers, Giving Life partnership, maternal mortality in supported districts declined by 44 percent in Uganda; by 41 percent in Zambia; and in only two years, by 28 percent in supported facilities in Cross River State, Nigeria.

Join the conversation on social media using our resource guide and #CaringforMoms.

Cover for the TB Outcomes in Indonesia report.

Photo credit: Karen Kasmauski/MCSP

U.S. Government Global Nutrition Coordination Plan Launches Year One Report

The first annual summary report of the U.S. Government Nutrition Coordination Plan, covering June 2016 through September 2017, outlines accomplishments and challenges in the first year of implementation and reflects on how these results may inform priorities for future action. Since its release in June 2016, the Coordination Plan has resulted in improved cross-government coordination and collaboration on nutrition. The first year of implementation marked progress in both formalizing the structure and function of the Coordination Plan and facilitating collective action in the Coordination Plan’s technical focus areas.

Photo of the tiny hospital in West Africa.

Photo credit: Maan Subba JSI/CNCP

Nepal, a Trailblazer in Newborn Innovation to Prevent Infection

When Srijana and Bimala attended female community health volunteer-led mothers’ group meetings together, they learned about the importance of chlorhexidine, a simple antiseptic gel proven to prevent infection among newborns. As a result, Srijana and Bilala are just two of the mothers in Nepal whose newborns benefitted from the life-saving gel. Read Srijana and Bimala’s story.

Following a clinical trial showing reductions in newborn deaths by 24 percent and newborn infections by 68 percent, USAID convened a group of health experts and researchers to work with the government to scale up chlorhexidine.

As a result of the Agency’s support to roll out chlorhexidine, an estimated 9,600 newborn lives were saved in Nepal between 2012 and 2017. Now, the life-saving gel is used nationally and procured locally. Additionally, the Ministry of Health and Population purchased 600,000 tubes of gel for 2016-2018 and has committed to buying another 700,000 in 2018.

Photo of two health workers in protective suits. Photo credit: PREDICT

USAID Funds New Innovations to Strengthen Health Supply Chains

USAID has made two awards under Ensuring Effective Health Supply Chains, a grand challenge issued jointly with the Gates Foundation. These awards will develop technology-based solutions to support health staff at the last mile to strengthen supply chain management and improve contraceptive availability. 

WCG will harness the power of data to support provider-led solutions for improved family planning supply chains. They will build upon the capability of an existing supply chain information system to proactively empower health providers to identify and overcome their supply chain challenges. This intervention will directly support frontline supply chain workers in providing voluntary family planning.

Arizona State University’s new Frontier Economies Logistics Laboratory will develop a first-of-its-kind mobile app that supports experiential learning for supply chain management through simulation of developing country health supply chains. Mobile app users will increase their supply chain competency by making critical decisions while confronting supply chain situations that reflect real-life circumstances. The app will provide a publicly available, low-cost and scalable solution that supports supply chain competency development at any level of the health system.



Graphic for the UAVs in Global Health Webinar.

July 13, 2018, Washington, D.C., USA
2018 Digital Development Awards

USAID’s U.S. Global Development Lab is hosting the second annual Digital Development Awards (“the Digis”) to recognize Agency-funded programs that are effectively using digital approaches to help the communities they serve on their journey to self-reliance, increase the efficiency and impact of their programs and further USAID’s mission. Apply by July 13.

A woman holds her child while smiling.

July 23-27, 2018, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
22nd International AIDS Conference

The International AIDS Conference is an opportunity to strengthen policies and programs that ensure an evidence-based response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The theme of AIDS 2018 is “Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges”, drawing attention to the need of rights-based approaches to more effectively reach key populations. Register for the conference

Photo of an adult's hands holding a child's hand.


July 27, 2018, Washington, D.C., USA
Saving Lives at Birth DevelopmentXChange

The 8th annual DevelopmentXChange event for Saving Lives at Birth: A Grand Challenge for Development will bring together a community of diverse innovators who are advancing maternal and newborn health through progress in science and technology, and transformative prevention and treatment approaches. Register for the event.



Innovator Insights: Illuminating the Path for Tomorrow’s Inventors
VentureWell — June 9, 2018

Make Jamaica Zika Free
USAID Exposure — June 11, 2018

8 Ways USAID’s Maternal and Child Survival Efforts Build Self-Reliance
USAID 2030 Medium — June 19, 2018

Reaching Refugees: Leaving no one behind in the fight against NTDs
RTI International Medium — June 19, 2018

Another Step in Ending Trachoma
USAID 2030 Medium — June 21, 2018


Last updated: June 02, 2019

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