Factsheet: About the Reach Every Mother and Child Act (S. 1911/H.R. 3706)

Ending Preventable Child and Maternal Deaths Worldwide

Together, we can end preventable newborn, child and maternal deaths around the world within a generation. You can act today to help make this goal a reality. Urge your members of Congress to cosponsor the Reach Every Mother and Child Act.

Ending Preventable Child Deaths Could be a Reality

Mother Panna Aktar with baby Sriti
Mother Panna Aktar with her newborn daughter, Sriti, 16 days old in Bangladesh. Panna has given birth four times. Two of her children died following child birth and two survived. Of the children who died, one was born at home without medical supervision and one was born in a clinic which was located very far away and to which Panna had to be carried for hours in a basket. Nearly one in four Bangladeshi babies is born underweight, and the damage from malnutrition often lasts a lifetime.

Since 1990, the world has reduced by more than half the mortality rates for children under 5. This is one of the great success stories in international development. U.S. leadership has helped build the capacity of communities and countries to care for their children. This progress has been achieved with simple solutions and proven, inexpensive interventions to address leading causes of death, including diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition.

Building on those gains, the U.S. has declared ending preventable newborn, child and maternal deaths a national priority. In 2014, the U.S. laid out a roadmap to 2020 and committed to saving 15 million children’s lives and 600,000 women’s lives in Acting on the Call: Ending Preventable Child and Maternal Deaths.

U.S. Contributions to Saving Mother’s and Children’s Lives Around the World

United States Agency for International Development (USAID) leads the U.S. government’s work to end extreme global poverty and to end preventable child and maternal deaths The agency focuses on empowering democratic societies to realize their potential. Every year, the USAID immunization program saves more than 3 million lives. In addition, the USAID child survival programs have made a major contribution to a 10% reduction in infant mortality rates worldwide in just the past eight years.

U.S. leadership has also played a catalytic role in increasing countries’ own responses to addressing maternal child survival. More than 20 countries, including Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria have developed and secured funding for their own national plans to reduce maternal, newborn and child deaths.

Despite this Progress…

  • 16,000 children die each day from preventable and treatable causes such as pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria.
  • One million babies around the world die each year. For these newborns, their day of birth is also their day of death from causes that are entirely preventable.
  • Additionally, nearly 300,000 women die annually due to complications during pregnancy or child birth.
  • Malnutrition accounts for 45% of deaths among children under the age of 5; this equals three million children’s lives lost each year.
  • Millions of children in the hardest to reach populations, including children who are refugees, have been left behind from the progress on child survival.

We Know What Works to End Preventable Maternal and Child Deaths

We know what works to accelerate progress toward ending preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths. Low-cost, high-impact strategies include:

  • Distribution and use of bed nets to stop malaria;
  • Antibiotics to treat pneumonia;
  • Zinc supplementation to treat diarrhea;
  • Vitamin A supplementation to treat malnutrition; and
  • Training health workers in their communities to increase access to health services.

The Roadmap to Ending Preventable Maternal and Child Deaths

Bipartisan legislation called the Reach Every Mother and Child Act (S. 1911/H.R. 3706) would scale up the solutions we know work to end preventable maternal and child deaths within a generation.

Mom Fatmara with her baby in Sierra Leone
Fatmara 21, lost a baby a few years ago after giving birth in the floor of her make-shift home in Sierra Leone. She recently gave birth successfully at the clinic opened by Save the Children in April 2012.

In the U.S. Senate, the bill was introduced by Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Susan Collins (R-ME). In the House of Representatives, the bill was introduced by Representatives Dave Reichert (R-WA), Michael McCaul (R-TX), Betty McCollum (D-MN) and Barbara Lee (D-CA).

The Reach Act would:

  • Reach more moms and babies with proven interventions;
  • Develop innovative ways to fund the programs that would bring new resources to the table;
  • Focus on the poorest and most vulnerable communities; and
  • Help build country sustainability and ownership.

Download the factsheet (PDF: 653 KB).

Your Action Can Make a Difference

Your voice matters! Help end preventable maternal and child deaths today by:

  1. Send a message to your members of Congress to urge them to cosponsor the Reach Act.
  2. Learn more about this campaign.
  3. Follow us on social media to get the latest news on this issue.