SEATTLE — On June 21, USAID released the third annual Acting on the Call report. The report specifies that focusing on the poorest 40 percent of the global population through an equity-based approach can save the lives of eight million women and children, reducing maternal and child deaths, by 2020.
The report also adds Myanmar (Burma) as the twenty-fifth priority country to end preventable maternal and child deaths. Additionally, USAID announced a new $9.2 million project, Integrating Community Health, that will strengthen the role of community health in USAID’s efforts to end preventable maternal and child deaths.
The 2016 Acting on the Call report includes updates on the commitments made in 2014. Those priority countries account for more than two-thirds of maternal and child deaths worldwide. This report also describes how USAID’s programs are helping the poorest and hardest to reach. This is possible with an equity-based approach. Moreover, the report describes what can be achieved if the bottom 40 percent has the same access to medical treatment as the rest of the world.
By stressing fair access of health services, USAID works to ensure that vulnerable women and children benefit from improved health and reduced mortality. Additionally, USAID is focusing on health financing in order to make access to health care simpler.
For example, all of the Democratic Republic of the Congo received malaria program coverage for the first time. In several Tanzanian districts with some of the lowest immunization rates, the number of unprotected children dropped 95 percent in two years.
In Myanmar, the newest priority country for USAID, they’re working to end maternal and child deaths under a new democratic government. They plan to better train midwives and improve the public health supply chain. Additionally, they will build mobile clinics to reach rural areas.
The new Integrating Community Health Program is a collection of seven awards designed to strengthen the role of community health. It will also create national policies and implementation plans. USAID and UNICEF will work together to achieve and sustain effective coverage of proven health interventions at scale. If they are successful, it will contribute to ending preventable maternal and child deaths.
The full Acting on the Call report can be accessed on USAID’s website at www.usaid.gov/actingonthecall.
– Alexis Pierce