August 11, 2017

Senators Collins, Coons introduce bipartisan bill to end preventable maternal and childhood deaths

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Chris Coons (D-DE) introduced the Reach Every Mother and Child Act to strengthen U.S. government efforts to end preventable deaths of mothers, newborns, and young children in developing nations around the world.  

Every day, approximately 800 women, almost entirely from developing countries, die from
preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth, and the risk of a woman dying in childbirth is 47 times higher in Africa than in the United States. In addition, more than 16,000 children under five years old will die each day of treatable conditions.

“Although progress has been made in improving the health of mothers and children, it is a tragedy that so many preventable deaths still occur,” said Senator Collins. “By supporting simple, proven, and cost-effective interventions, our bipartisan legislation will improve the health and well-being of mothers and children in developing countries and bring us closer to achieving the goal of ending preventable maternal and child deaths worldwide.”

“For too many women and families, pregnancy and childbirth are risky, life-threatening conditions that are filled with stress rather than joy and expectation,” said Senator Coons. “The Reach Act directs USAID to deliver a comprehensive strategy that prioritizes cost-effective, proven interventions to prevent these tragic deaths. This bipartisan bill will bring relief to mothers who can safely carry, deliver, and raise their newborns knowing that the care they need is now available."

The United States has been a global leader in reaching mothers and children in developing countries with life-saving interventions, including skill birth attendants, basic resuscitation options for newborns, vaccinations, and other cost-effective, evidence-based interventions.
The Reach Act has been endorsed by CARE International, PATH, RESULTS, Save the Children Action Network, and World Vision. The bill would provide the focus and tools necessary to accelerate progress toward ending preventable maternal and child deaths by:
Establishing the goal of ending preventable maternal, newborn, and child deaths by 2030;
Requiring the Administration to implement a strategy to achieve this goal by scaling up the most-effective evidence-based interventions;

Permitting USAID greater flexibility to use “pay-for-success” financing models where foreign aid is only expended for results rather than inputs, and
 establishing a permanent Maternal and Child Survival Coordinator at USAID who would be focused on implementing the strategy and verify that the most effective interventions are scaled up in target countries.

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