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

Success Stories

Fighting Malnutrition in Ghana


Almost half of all deaths for children under 5 are attributable to malnutrition — this is why improving nutrition is imperative to achieving USAID’s global maternal and child survival goals. Climate change, conflict, and the lasting impacts of COVID-19 have all exacerbated rates of global malnutrition and contributed to the global food security and hunger crisis. Learn how health workers are leading the charge for change.

The Global Child Thrive Act Commemorates Its First Year in Action


In Uganda, Joseph learns that playing with his children is critical to their cognitive, social, and emotional development. In Rwanda, Jeanne learns how to cook nutritious meals for her family and practice positive parenting. And, in Cambodia, 4-year-old Sreyno learns how to walk for the first time on new prosthetic legs.

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


From emperors in ancient Rome to toddlers in sub-Saharan Africa today, people have been dying from malaria for thousands of years. Over the last century, innovative technologies and scientific breakthroughs have supported more than 100 countries, including the United States, to successfully eliminate malaria from within their borders. Yet for more than half the world, malaria remains a leading cause of death and hospitalizations, particularly for young children and pregnant women.

News and Resources

Preventing Child and Maternal Deaths, A Framework for Action in a Changing World, 2022 – 2030


A Decade of Progress and Action for the Future will examine the tenacity and innovation that helped us make gains, the lessons learned through monitoring, country-led adaptation and leadership, analysis, and reflection, as well as the approaches we must take to reinvigorate the momentum and global commitment to improving maternal and child survival. Increasing coverage, strengthening the quality of care, and enhancing equity will be tantamount to our global progress.

A Decade of Progress and Action for the Future: Preventing Child and Maternal Deaths, 2023-2030 Factsheet


Explore the executive summary for this landmark report outlining USAID's framework for action to prevent child and maternal deaths around the world. 

Preventing Child and Maternal Deaths: Primary Health Care Infographic


Learn more about how USAID is accelerating progress to increase maternal and child survival through primary health care.

Getting to 2030: Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition Technical Roadmap


USAID works in partnership with host country governments, the civil and private sectors, faith-based organizations, and other key partners to save lives by ensuring women and children have equitable access to high quality, respectful care. The Getting To 2030: Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition Technical Roadmap is a framework that guides USAID's maternal and child survival  programs.

Prevent, Protect, and Treat: Combating Childhood Pneumonia


As the leading infectious killer of children under five years old, pneumonia causes an estimated 800,000 deaths each year, with the majority in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Yet most pneumonia-related deaths are preventable through high-impact interventions and practices.

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.