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Collins, Coons, Durbin, Wicker Introduce Bipartisan Bill to End Preventable Maternal and Childhood Deaths

Washington, D.C. - Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Chris Coons (D-DE), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Roger Wicker (R-MS) introduced the Reach Every Mother and Child (Reach) Act. This bipartisan legislation would strengthen the United States’ efforts to end preventable deaths of mothers, newborns, and young children in the developing world by 2030.

Nearly 300,000 women die annually from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. In addition, a significant proportion of those under five years old occur in the first 28 days of birth, with newborns accounting for nearly 50 percent of all under-five deaths. In 2021, 5 million children under-five died from mainly preventable and treatable diseases.

“Far too many mothers, newborns, and young children under the age of five in developing countries succumb to disease and malnutrition that could easily be prevented. Our bipartisan legislation would help save the lives of mothers and their kids around the world with simple, proven, cost-effective interventions, including clean birthing practices, vaccines, and nutritional supplements,” said Senator Collins.

“I’m proud to join Senator Collins to put forth this bipartisan effort to improve health outcomes for mothers and kids around the world,” said Senator Coons. “Far too many women die every year from preventable causes, many of them related to pregnancy and childbirth. This effort will strengthen our national efforts to end preventable deaths among these vulnerable groups.”

“It is devastating that an untold number of women and babies are dying from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth across the globe – especially since many of these deaths could have been prevented with the right interventions and health care.  Maternal and child health are critical building blocks to global health.  That’s why I’m joining Senators Collins and Coons to help women and children in developing countries with life-saving interventions,” said Senator Durbin.  

"With global vaccination rates falling for the first time in three decades, and the number of zero-dose children (those without any immunizations) on the rise, it's clear how child survival programs were deeply harmed by the fall-out from COVID-19. As the global community works to recover life-saving progress, the U.S. can and must do more to stand with women and children. The Reach Every Mother and Child Act is a powerful example of the kind of support and impact needed, and the role the U.S. can and must play in ending preventable maternal and child deaths. We’re especially grateful to the bipartisan leadership of Senators Collins and Coons in pushing for Congress to do its part in making sure every mother and child is reached with the quality health services that are their right,” said Dr. Joanne Carter, Executive Director, RESULTS.

The United States has been a critical global leader in the fight to end preventable child and maternal deaths, amplifying their commitment in the 2012 Child Survival Call To Action summit. A decade later, the administration has renewed their commitment with ambitious goals to reach every last mother, newborn and child, to improve quality and to improve data and to accelerate process. Congress’ commit and support is critical. The Reach Act will help the us to reach these goals. We are grateful to the unwavering commitment of Senators Collins and Coons and for their leadership on the Reach Act,” said Smita Baruah, Associate Vice President, Government Relations, Save the Children.

“While great progress has been made over the last three decades, the pandemic has disrupted essential services and many communities have lost access to life saving care. To end preventable child and maternal deaths globally, we need stronger US global health strategies to support the important work of our partner countries. By focusing on ensuring equitable access to essential maternal, newborn, and child health services, promoting inter-agency coordination and establishing a Child and Maternal Survival Coordinator at USAID, the REACH Act will help strengthen US support. We commend Congress for putting this critical issue back on the agenda,” said Heather Ignatius, Chief of External Affairs, PATH.

“The United States has led in the effort to end preventable maternal and child deaths and the record of impact is clear - today in USAID partner countries, 3,000 more children and 100 more women will survive every day than in 2012.  While we celebrate these life-saving efforts, we know the work is not done and that mothers and children are still dying from causes we know how to prevent.  We are grateful that Senator Collins is introducing the REACH Act to ensure sustained U.S. leadership and commitment to maternal and child survival, and we appreciate her efforts,” said Lisa Bos, Senior Director of Government Relations, World Vision.

The United States has been a global leader in reaching mothers and children in developing countries with life-saving interventions, including skilled birth attendants, basic resuscitation options for newborns, vaccinations, and other cost-effective, evidence-based interventions.

The Reach Act would aim to assist additional mothers and children by:

  • Implementing a strategy focused on bringing to scale the highest impact, evidence-based interventions, with a focus on country and community ownership;
  • Establishing a Maternal and Child Survival Coordinator at USAID who would focus on implementing the strategy and verifying that the most effective interventions are scaled up in target countries;
  • Improving government efficiency across several agencies that would collaborate with the Coordinator to identify and promote the most effective interventions to end preventable maternal and child deaths globally;
  • Promoting transparency and greater accountability; and
  • Requiring detailed public reporting on progress toward implementing the strategy.

Click HERE to read the full text of the bill.