USAID and Partners Convene to Unveil New Efforts to Save Millions of Women and Children from Preventable Deaths

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, June 25, 2014
USAID Press Office

WASHINGTON, D.C. - 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 and other partners, will come together today for the high-level forum, Acting on the Call: Ending Preventable Child and Maternal Deaths. Dozens of global health leaders from governments, faith-based organizations, civil societies and the private sector offered their comments on the progress achieved and challenges ahead to save millions of women and children from preventable deaths:

U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR)

“As a result of our bipartisan commitment to tackling global health issues, the U.S., in partnership with the international community, NGO’s and the private sector, has made a great deal of progress in the fight to reduce preventable child and maternal deaths around the globe. It is proof-positive that a focused, results-driven strategy, when implemented properly and overseen with the leadership necessary to work, can succeed. We should all be proud of these efforts and let them inspire us to finish the job and reach the goal of ending preventable child and maternal deaths by 2035.”

Anthony Lake, Executive Director, UNICEF

“Saving the lives of children and mothers is a shared responsibility and must be a global priority. In 2012, the Governments of Ethiopia, India and the United States challenged the world to do everything possible to accelerate declines in preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths. The response was Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed—a global movement that has been endorsed by over 170 governments and hundreds of civil society and private sector organizations. As we look back over the past two years, we have seen many countries translate their promise to women and children into practical action and results. Once again led forward by the governments of the United States, Ethiopia, and India, we have reconvened to take stock of our progress and plot our course for achieving even greater results for the world’s most disadvantaged and vulnerable children. Because every child, everywhere, deserves the best possible start in life.”

Mark Suzman, President, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“We have seen dramatic progress for women and children in recent decades, and we have much to celebrate. We know that investments in proven, cost-effective solutions not only save lives, but improve health and have positive ripple effects in social and economic development. Today we acknowledge the successes of global investments while doubling down on continued commitment to saving more lives and giving more women and children an opportunity to thrive. Progress is possible, and it is possible anywhere. It is exciting to see so much leadership on this issue, which truly sits at the heart of global development.”

Ray Chambers, United Nations Special Envoy for Financing the Health Millennium Development Goals and For Malaria and Chair of the Blue Ribbon Advisory Panel (commenting on USAID’s announcement that it will realign $2.9 billion of the Agency’s resources to save up to half a million children from preventable deaths by the end of 2015 and its plan to appoint a Coordinator tooversee USAID’s near- and longer-term goals for impact)

“We applaud USAID for its commitment to improving efficiency and effectiveness in its quest to save more lives and improve health among the world’s most vulnerable people. In embracing the Panel’s recommendations in their entirety, and learning from its own groundbreaking President’s Malaria Initiative, USAID is transforming how money is spent, and is leading a new way of tracking lives saved and measuring economic impact. As a businessman who understands return on investment, I am confident that this focus on impact—measured most clearly by the 500,000 additional lives to be saved by the end of 2015 that Administrator Shah will announce today—combined with the clear management authority of a child and maternal health Coordinator, will transform how business is done.”

Jeffrey C. Walker, former 25-year private equity executive; CEO and Co-Founder of CCMP Capital; Vice Chairman of JP Morgan & Co.; Vice Chair, MDG Health Alliance; and a member of the Blue Ribbon Advisory Panel, which advised USAID to improve effectiveness and efficiency of the Agency (commenting on USAID’s announcement that it will realign $2.9 billion of the Agency’s resources to save up to half a million children from preventable deaths by the end of 2015 and its plan to appoint a Coordinator to oversee USAID’s near- and longer-term goals for impact)

“I applaud USAID’s commitment to increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of its spending and to delivering maximum impact for every dollar it spends. The Panel believes that a central Coordinator is essential for USAID’s ability to execute its revised plans, and that it must move rapidly to clarify the duties and success metrics of the Coordinator.”

Helene D. Gayle, President and CEO, CARE USA, and a member of the Blue Ribbon Advisory Panel, which advised USAID to improve effectiveness and efficiency of the Agency

"The U.S. government has played a critical role in helping to reduce maternal, newborn and child deaths that contribute to the vicious cycle of poverty in far too many countries.  When women and men can make decisions about when and how many children to have—when they can provide for their children's health and well-being—their families and communities thrive. We are pleased to see that USAID is working to do more with its resources and that it has rethought processes and approaches in order to maximize impact and effectiveness, saving more lives than ever.  This report,Acting on the Call: Ending Preventable Child and Maternal Deaths, has shown us that ending preventable deaths in mothers and children is within our reach. We should not rest until we've succeeded."

Paul E. Farmer, MD, PhD, Kolokotrones University Professor, Harvard University Chair, Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School Chief, Division of Global Health Equity, Brigham and Women’s Hospital Co-founder, Partners In Health; and a member of the Blue Ribbon Advisory Panel, which advised USAID to improve effectiveness and efficiency of the Agency (commenting on USAID’s announcement that it will realign $2.9 billion of the Agency’s resources to save up to half a million children from preventable deaths by the end of 2015)

“Today’s announcement is a testament to Raj Shah’s commitment to breaking the cycle of poverty and disease. Under his leadership, the organization underwent an exhaustive review process that resulted in the realignment of $2.9 billion of its resources to prevent 500,000 child deaths by the end of 2015. What this shows us is that our institutions can aspire to cull not only the low-hanging fruits of public health but to climb towards the higher branches, where the fruits of global health equity have yet to be harvested. With this type of innovation, resolve, and vision we can get closer to our common goal of ending extreme poverty, hunger, and child death in the next two decades.”

Carolyn Miles, President & CEO, Save the Children

“I commend Raj Shah and his team at USAID for putting forth a new vision and approach for ending preventable maternal and child deaths. Save the Children is a committed partner in ensuring this way forward is realized.  I am excited that USAID is realigning its investments with country owned plans that focuses on delivering results.”

Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company (commenting on the announcement of the Project Last Mile Partnership)

“Africa has been key to our global business for more than 85 years, and we are committed to helping improve the health of the local communities where we make and sell beverages. We are pleased to leverage our System’s expertise to make progress on an important societal issue like the distribution of medicine. Together, we can leverage the expertise of companies like ours and the reach and relationships of government and civil society to address this pressing issue.”

Sharon D'Agostino, Vice President, Corporate Citizenship at Johnson & Johnson

"A new mother's greatest hope is that her baby will be born healthy.   Johnson & Johnson is committing $30 million over the next five years to help make this a reality for many more mothers around the world.  We will continue to support partnerships that promote maternal and newborn survival in resource limited settings and we hope to ensure that maternal and newborn health remains central to the post-2015 development agenda.Working together, we can create a world in which no newborn or her mom dies as a result of a preventable cause."

Rich Stearns, CEO, World Vision US

“We could—right now—prevent the deaths of 6.6 million children every year. We simply need to do what we know how to do to save their lives. Thankfully, USAID, World Vision, and other partners are investing the needed resources to give these children not only life but a healthy and abundant future.”

H.E. Kesetebirhan Admasu, Minister of Health, Ethiopia

“Addressing child and maternal deaths is a moral imperative, and not a choice. In Ethiopia, similar to all developing countries, we now know well that there is simply no alternative but to increase and harmonize investments in an integrated health systems approach to expanding child and maternal health services. We strongly believe that the key components which enabled us to significantly reduce child and maternal mortality over the past years is mainly a result of our sustained and massive investment in building strong, well-functioning, and accessible health delivery systems. And thanks to the steadfast commitment of our government and the support of a wide range of partners, we have registered steady progress in strengthening our health system, resulting in improved access and quality of child and maternal health services. I want to emphasize that everything we hope to achieve in the future still hinges on further building up of strong well-functioning country health systems.”

Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Hon. Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India

“While we were committed and energetic, no one really believed it was possible to eradicate polio in India. This year is very special for me and for all fellow Indians—we are polio-free. Let us not underestimate the power of believing that we can end preventable child and maternal deaths. What is needed first is the belief that we can END, not merely reduce preventable maternal and child deaths. Now is the time for Acting on the Call.”

Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO, GAVI Alliance

“The GAVI Alliance shares the U.S. government’s commitment to ending preventable maternal, newborn and child death. This week’s event is an opportunity to advance the fight against the leading killers of children and women, including through expanded use of vaccines, providing a lifetime of protection from deadly diseases, at a low cost.”

Dr. Flavia Bustreo, Assistant Director-General Family, Women's and Children's Health World Health Organization

“The World Health Organization supports the goal of A Promise Renewed and The Call to Action, and is a proud partner in this movement. The Child Survival Call to Action with the goals to end preventable maternal, newborn and child mortality has helped set in motion and bring momentum towards global action plans to achieve the goals; notably the Every Newborn: an action plan to end preventable death (2014); the Ending preventable deaths from pneumonia and diarrhea by 2025 (2013). A vision for Ending preventable maternal mortality is now in place. Now more than ever, there is consensus that we can end preventable maternal, newborn and child mortality within a generation. WHO commends the movement and the leadership of USAID, Ethiopia and India, and will continue to support governments and work with our partners so we can globally reach the goals of A Promise Renewed and The Call to Action.”

Errol Alden, MD, FAAP, Executive Director, American Academy of Pediatrics

“The AAP has a long-standing commitment to child survival programs and to helping achieve the MDGs. We support the Every Newborn Action Plan and all global efforts to create a world in which women, babies and children survive and thrive, and reach their full potential.”

Valerie DeFillipo, Executive Director, Family Planning 2020

“The global community has come together to save the lives of millions of women and children, but we must do more. Complications in pregnancy and childbirth are still the leading cause of death among adolescent girls in most developing countries. Our goal must be for all women and girls to have the opportunity to shape their own future, and family planning is critical to making that happen.”

Barbara Turner, President, University Research Co. and Center for Human Services, URC-CHS

“The timing for this Call to Action Report is particularly good as many technical solutions to saving the lives of mothers and children have been developed by USAID and the international health partner organizations. Now is the time to build these innovations into the health delivery approaches to improve results at every level of the system.”

Chris LeGrand, CEO, Futures Group

“Futures Group joins the renewed promise to end child and maternal death. The global community has made great strides in recent years in improving child and maternal health, and Futures Group is honored to be playing a part by helping to build an evidence base through implementation science, strengthen policy, foster civil society and public-private partnerships, use data for decision-making, and support effective and efficient services for orphans and vulnerable children. Yet, international partners cannot let our achievements overshadow the important work that remains: we must all recommit ourselves to save the lives of the millions of children and mothers who die needlessly each year.”

Dr. Christine Sow, Executive Director, Global Health Council

“The Global Health Council supports the critical momentum created by the Child Survival Call to Action toward goals we once thought out of reach. Within this movement, the wide diversity of civil society, government and corporate partners that have united under the banner of ending preventable child, newborn and maternal deaths is truly ground-breaking and provides dynamic models that pave the way of the future of global health in the post-2015 era.”

Pam Barnes, CEO, EngenderHealth

“At the heart of maternal health and child survival is a healthy woman. We cannot underestimate the power of access to family planning and reproductive health services, which are critical to ensuring the health of women and their families. With a shared vision and unified effort, we lend our voices and support to USAID’s important event, Acting on the Call: Ending Preventable Child and Maternal Deaths, as we accelerate momentum toward our collective goal to achieve maternal and child health everywhere.”

Leslie Mancuso, President and Chief Executive Officer, Jhpiego

“Jhpiego proudly supports the Acting on the Call: Ending Preventable Child and Maternal Deaths forum. During our 40 years of experience in over 150 countries, we have seen first-hand the devastating impact the death of a mother or child can have on families, communities, and countries. With leadership from USAID, UNICEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundations and our colleagues in the private sector and global health community, we look forward to working with countries to reach the most vulnerable populations with proven, low-cost interventions. Ensuring that where women and families live does not determine if they live.”

Charles Lyons, President and CEO, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation

“The Child Survival Call to Action has elevated the thinking around efforts to dramatically reduce maternal and child mortality around the world. It provides a clear vision of how countries can scale-up and implement high-impact interventions that best address the health needs of women, newborns and children within unique country contexts. Today’s event is an opportunity to reaffirm the global health community’s commitment to integrating quality services across the continuum of care—before, during and after pregnancy, and through infancy and childhood. The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation is proud to support this initiative and will continue to work with partners such as USAID and UNICEF to address key drivers of maternal and child deaths, like HIV and AIDS.”

Samuel Worthington, President and CEO, InterAction

“The success of sustained collaboration and investment in fighting preventable diseases and child deaths is clear. The number of children who die before their 5th birthday has halved since 1990. Together we can make even more progress. That’s why InterAction member NGOs will increase their spending in private resources on child health and survival programs for 2015, while also leveraging their technical expertise and established local community networks. We look forward to reaching even greater results in collaboration with the U.S. government’s leadership and the American people’s generous support and commitment—so that every child makes it to their 5th birthday and beyond.”

Dr. Carolyn Woo, President and CEO, Catholic Relief Services

“Catholic Relief Services commends USAID, other donors, foreign governments, partners, and local health and community workers on saving the lives of millions of mothers and children across the globe over the past 20 years. It is a privilege for us to have been a part of this incredible success. A tragic number of lives are still needlessly lost, though, despite well-established simple and cost-effective solutions. Believing that together we can prevent these deaths, CRS along with our faith-based and other partners will intensify our efforts so that every mother survives childbirth and every child lives to see her fifth birthday.”

Dr. Jonathan D. Quick, President and CEO, Management Sciences for Health (MSH)

“By harmonizing our efforts, we will have the greatest impact on child survival and women’s health. Together, we can increase access to services, improve quality of care, reduce inequities, and achieve universal health coverage so that all have the opportunity for a healthy life. Partnership is essential for saving lives and improving health, that’s why we support the Call to Action and A Promise Renewed and are honored to be a part of this movement.”

Kathleen Flanagan, President and CEO of Abt Associates

“The goal of ending preventable child and maternal deaths is within reach. Now is the time to come together and renew the call to action. At Abt Associates, we stand united with the global health community to bring our best thinking and innovative approaches to solving these challenges.”

Amie Batson, Chief Strategy Officer at PATH

“PATH is committed to developing the life-saving innovations that will enable the world to end preventable maternal and child deaths. In just 25 years, the world has halved the number of children dying before their fifth birthday– taking it from 12.6 million to under 6.6 million. This progress is thanks to the efforts of the global health community—governments, civil society, academia, the private sector, as well as many others. Ending preventable child deaths remains our challenge—one that can be accomplished through innovations that make health within reach of everyone—especially our children.”

Dr. Robert W. Radtke, President of Episcopal Relief & Development ​ ​

“We are proud to support A Promise Renewed and the Call to Action movement because the sustained success of many Episcopal Relief & Development programs, including our award-winning, flagship malaria prevention program, NetsforLife®, depends on working in collaboration with government, colleagues and local church agencies. ​The methodology pioneered by NetsforLife®—training local health workers to educate and advocate in their home communities—is now being used to promote maternal and child health through prenatal care, growth monitoring and support groups to ensure healthy child development. It is only by acting together, united in this common cause, that we will be able to sustain our gains and save millions of lives.”

Nancy A. Aossey, President and CEO, International Medical Corps

“International Medical Corps is a proud partner in this historic collaboration to provide lifesaving resources so that no child – regardless of where they live or their circumstances—dies from preventable diseases before their fifth birthday and beyond. Through this critical partnership, we can achieve our goal of ending preventable newborn, child and maternal mortality by strengthening the global health workforce, increasing access to integrated health services and ensuring children and women are given every opportunity to survive and thrive.”

Jonathan Duffy, President, ADRA

“ADRA proudly supports the Call to Action and the momentum USAID, civil society organizations and ministries of health have garnered around child survival and ending preventable deaths. We are encouraged by the investments made to date and look forward to achieving greater results in curbing maternal and child mortality; meeting the need for family planning; and improving the health and nutrition of communities worldwide.”

Suzanne Ehlers, President and CEO, Population Action International

“We support Acting on the Call: Ending Preventable Child and Maternal Deaths because it recognizes that one of the biggest predictors of child survival is a mother's health and well-being. We know that family planning can avert as many as a third of maternal deaths and one in ten child deaths—ensuring that both mom and baby get to celebrate every 5th birthday together.”

Purnima Mane, President and CEO, Pathfinder International

“As the CEO of Pathfinder International, I am honored to answer the call of Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed. This movement will help align and accelerate the efforts of organizations like Pathfinder which fight to end preventable maternal and child deaths worldwide. The time is now to prevent maternal deaths that deprive families, communities, and nations of the rich contributions those women would have made, and rob 800 women of their futures every day. We believe that ensuring the rights of women and girls to contraceptive information and services is key to achieving this goal. Pathfinder is doing its part by increasing contraceptive use in the countries where we work, thereby reducing unintended pregnancies, and by delivering high impact programs that focus on safe pregnancy, delivery, and high quality postpartum care. Together, we can improve maternal and newborn health.”

Thomas Kemper, General Secretary, Global Ministries, United Methodist Committee on Relief

“With 75 years of experience in health and development, UMCOR is proud to support the goals of A Promise Renewed and The Call to Action. UMCOR Global Health’s goals align with this initiative as we look to increase the survival rate, well-being, personal and economic status of women and children and, as a result, the well-being and potential of their communities. We are privileged to be advisory board members, and excited that this initiative recognizes the importance of including faith-based communities in this conversation.”

Patrick Fine, CEO, FHI 360

“FHI 360 is proud to be part of the global effort to end preventable child and maternal deaths. The millions of people who have benefited from FHI 360's research and programs demonstrate the importance of multidisciplinary approaches that include family planning to improve health outcomes for mothers and children.”

Kate Dodson, Vice President of Global Health, United Nations Foundation

“The global community can and must continue to work together to prevent the deaths of women and children around the world. The United Nations Foundation is proud to stand with partners of the UN’s Every Woman Every Child global movement on June 25th as we collectively affirm our commitment to the goal of ending preventable child and maternal deaths. The UN Foundation delivers on our commitment to this goal by supporting the UN’s efforts to address key global health priorities, such as childhood immunizations, malaria prevention, holistic health for adolescent girls, access to reproductive health supplies and services, clean cookstoves and fuels, and improving health outcomes through mobile technologies. We look forward to building momentum through ‘Acting on the Call’ to bring us closer to achieving Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 and to help us give women and children everywhere the chance to lead healthier lives.”

Ray Martin, Executive Director, Christian Connections for International Health

“Religious leaders and faith-based organizations champion child survival and development, motivated by their faith values to work for healthy families and strong communities. CCIH and its extensive global network of members prioritize child survival and health both in advocacy and service delivery, and are pleased to participate with the sponsors and other partners of Acting on the Call to end preventable child deaths.”

Susan Cohen, Acting Vice President for Public Policy, Guttmacher Institute

“The Guttmacher Institute strongly supports efforts to end preventable deaths among women, infants and children. Critically, research shows that these efforts must include significant investments in family planning services. These investments act as a catalyst, reducing deaths among mothers and newborns at a faster rate—and lower cost—than could be achieved with stand-alone investments in maternal and newborn care.”

Last updated: September 15, 2017

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