Child Health

USAID's investments to support child health aim to reduce preventable child mortality by expanding equitable access to quality health care. Our programs ensure that children not only survive to celebrate their fifth birthday but can thrive later in life and reach their full potential.

Pneumonia, diarrhea, and malaria are among the leading causes of childhood death and are collectively responsible for almost one-third of deaths among children under five years old—yet, most of these deaths can be prevented with inexpensive, evidence-based interventions. Deaths among children under five have fallen from 12.5 million per year in 1990 to 5 million in 2021—a dramatic decrease, but one that demands further progress and innovation. (UNICEF, 2020)

To accelerate further reductions in preventable child deaths, USAID partners with countries to implement known, affordable, accessible interventions at scale. Even in those countries in which progress has been made, there are communities with limited access to quality services. To expand access and effective coverage, USAID will increase detection of underserved populations and work with the private and public sector to provide high-quality health information, products, and services for children. In the absence of public or private, facility-based services in remote areas, USAID supports integrated community case management (iCCM), a platform from which trained community health workers can diagnose and treat key illnesses, as well as identify and refer those cases that need immediate and more specialized levels of care to ensure that no child is left behind.

Our Approach and Results

 Our work to improve child health is cross-sectoral and includes preventive measures, that rely on catalytic investments and strong partnerships with country governments, donors, and the private sector to extend our reach and have the greatest possible impact on child survival, including: 

  • Improving the delivery of frontline primary care and prevention services by strengthening health worker adherence to evidence-based approaches.

  •  Diagnosing and treating malaria accurately and in a timely fashion and coordinating the supply of and providing long-lasting, insecticide-treated bednets to prevent malaria.

  • Advancing equitable community-level child survival interventions in rural and underserved areas, including treatment for children with diarrhea and pneumonia.

  • Improving water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) infrastructure and educating communities on best practices. 

  •  Educating families about nutrition.

  • Supporting strong, resilient routine immunization systems.

  • Promoting preventive measures and social behavior change interventions to support timely care seeking; community case management; and routine childhood immunization.

  • Working to improve access to and quality of care in a ‘total market’ approach, engaging the public and private sector, NGOs, and faith-based organizations.   

Since 2020, USAID provided 115 million treatments to children for diarrhea and pneumonia.

Where We Work 

USAID’s maternal and child survival programs focus on 25 countries that represent more than 66 percent of maternal and child deaths.

Projects and Partnerships

Mothing smiling holding laughing baby


MOMENTUM— Moving Integrated, Quality Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health and Family Planning and Reproductive Health Services to Scale—is a suite of projects that works in partnership with countries to scale up health interventions and improve the overall health and well-being of mothers, children, families, and communities.

mother staring off into distance

Breakthrough ACTION

Breakthrough ACTION ignites collective action and encourages people to adopt healthier behaviors—from using modern contraceptive methods and sleeping under bed nets to improved complementary feeding—by forging, testing, and scaling up new and hybrid approaches to social and behavior change.

Mother spoon feeding baby seated in her lap, while another child to the left smiles

USAID Advancing Nutrition

USAID Advancing Nutrition works to improve the nutrition and health status of vulnerable populations. With a focus on building local capacity, supporting behavior change, and strengthening environments, this project aims to save lives, improve health, build resilience, increase economic productivity, and advance development.

Infants smiling at the camera

Global Health Supply Chain – Procurement and Supply Management (GHSC-PSM)

GHSC-PSM enhances the health care experience in the communities we serve through transformative supply chain solutions by working closely with country partners and suppliers worldwide to promote wellbeing and help countries develop sustainable supply chain systems.

Featured News, Resources, and Stories  

Prevent, Protect, Treat: USAID Combating Pneumonia Across the Globe
FACTSHEET November 2022
USAID’s child survival programs help prevent life-threatening illnesses and infections among newborns and young children. Pneumonia is the leading infectious killer of children under five years old, with the majority of deaths occurring in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. To tackle the threat of child pneumonia in these countries, USAID takes a three-pronged approach: prevent, protect, and treat.

Immunizations: Paving The Way For A Healthy Future
Immunizations not only save lives, but they enable children, women, and families to thrive. When individuals are fully protected from the threat of vaccine preventable diseases, they can stay in school, care for and support their families, and contribute to the economic growth of their communities and countries.

Putting People at the Center of USAID Immunization Programs
Vaccines are powerful tools for saving lives, stopping the spread of infectious diseases, and helping communities thrive. When individuals are fully protected from the threat of vaccine-preventable diseases, they can stay in school, care for their families, and contribute to the economic growth of their countries. Yet, to ultimately support long lives well-lived, we must go from vaccines to vaccination.

First of Its Kind, A New Malaria Vaccine
Learn how USAID support for a groundbreaking new tool promises to be a game changer in sub-Saharan Africa where one child in 13 dies before their fifth birthday.

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Newsletter Description

Our quarterly MCHN e-Newsletter highlights updates on USAID’s Maternal and Child Survival Programs around the world.