Maternal and Child Health

  • The 2018 Acting on the Call report details how USAID partners with countries on their journey to self-reliance by helping countries plan, fund and manage their own continued progress.

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  • In the past five years, USAID has helped save the lives of more than 800,000 newborns. USAID’s maternal and child health partnerships not only save lives, but also harness American ingenuity and innovation.

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  • USAID works with local governments, like this one in the Iganga district, Uganda, to identify communities that lack life-saving health services.

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When a mother dies in childbirth, her infant has only a 19% chance of surviving his or her first month.

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When interventions are delivered during labor and childbirth and immediate newborn care is provided, up to 51% of newborn deaths can be avoided.

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Diarrhea is one of the leading killers of children under-five, contributing to more deaths than HIV, malaria, and measles combined. An at-home treatment typically costs less than $.50.

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Immunization yields up to a 44-fold return on investment in low- and middle-income countries and averts an estimated 2 to 3 million child deaths each year.

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Women and girls without access to toilets spend 97 billion hours each year looking for a place to relieve themselves, translating into 97 billion hours of lost productivity.

USAID’s maternal and child health programs work to ensure that all women and children have the same chance of a healthy life, regardless of where they are born. In the past 10 years, USAID has helped save the lives of more than 5 million children and 200,000 women. Our efforts focus on 25 priority countries, that together account for more than two-thirds of maternal and child deaths worldwide. Despite this progress, more than 15,000 children and 830 women still die every day from  causes we could have prevented. Mothers and children are invaluable to their families, communities, societies, and economies, and the loss of even one life robs these families and communities of their potential.

In 2017, USAID helped 76 million women and children access essential—often life-saving—health services.

USAID is a global leader in maternal and child health and partners with governments to meet the health needs of their women and children. USAID acts as a catalyst to leverage new ideas, mobilize domestic resources, and accelerate global progress by uniting new partners around a common goal: ensure women and children have the same chance of survival, regardless of where they are born. USAID’s support focuses on scaling up high-impact interventions that address the main causes of death, using data to prioritize populations and geographies and innovation to accelerate progress. USAID's Acting on the Call reports present a roadmap with country-specific plans and updates on progress. By helping keep women and children healthy, USAID is supporting countries on their pathway to self reliance.

To achieve this goal, USAID works to improve the accessibility and quality of basic interventions that can save, and have saved, millions of lives, categorized into five key areas:

Success Stories

A nurse and mother care for a baby American Innovation Breathes New Life into Newborns
Two health heroes, one Malawian and one American, working together to save lives.


A mother sits with her child Targeted Investments Yield Multitudes for India’s Women and Children
Partnering with the Government of India to identify gaps in care.


A nurse uses a listening device on a mother's abdomenImproving Human Resources For Health in Ethiopia
An overlooked step to quality health services that improves maternal and child survival.


Related Resources

Acting on the Call Report

Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality: USAID Maternal Health Vision for Action

Global Health Report to Congress


Global Health


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Last updated: February 24, 2019

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