WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Chris Coons (D-DE) today introduced the Reach Every Mother and Child Act of 2015 to strengthen U.S. government efforts to end preventable deaths of mothers, newborns, and young children in developing nations around the world. Both Senators Collins and Coons spoke from the Senate floor today urging their colleagues to join them in supporting this legislation.
Every day, approximately 800 women, almost entirely from developing countries, will 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 17,000 children under five years old will die each day of treatable conditions.
“There are simple, proven, and cost-effective interventions that we know will work if we can reach the mothers and children who need them to survive,” said Senator Collins. “Far too many mothers, newborns, and young children still succumb to disease and malnutrition that could easily be prevented.”
“Over the past several years, we have made great strides in saving moms, babies, and kids in some of the poorest parts of the world, but it’s clear that more help – and more resources – are needed,” said Senator Coons. “The U.S. is a critical leader in ending preventable maternal and child deaths, and this bipartisan bill builds on those successes by utilizing innovative financing tools and new strategies. Investing in maternal and child health in developing countries is an investment in the future, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to help all mothers and children around the globe get the health care they deserve.”
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. In 2014, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) released a report entitled Acting on the Call: Ending Preventable Child and Maternal Deaths and set a goal of ending preventable maternal and child deaths by 2035.
The Reach Act would provide the focus and tools necessary to accelerate progress toward ending preventable maternal and child deaths by:
- Requiring a ten-year strategy to achieve the goal of ending preventable maternal, newborn, and child deaths by 2035;
- Establishing a permanent Maternal and Child Survival Coordinator at USAID who would be focused on implementing the ten-year strategy and verifying that the most effective interventions are scaled up in target countries; and
- Requiring the Administration to develop a financing framework which would allow the use of U.S. government dollars to leverage additional commitments from the private sector, non-profit organizations, partner countries, and multinational organizations.
Click HERE to watch Senator Collins’ floor speech about the Reach Every Mother and Child Act of 2015.