Congress should OK life-saving bill

This piece originally appeared in The News-Gazette.

My daughter, Amelia, has had a big year. She turned 5 in April and then graduated recently from pre-school with many of her little friends.

As I watched her in her cap and gown, I couldn’t help but think of the millions of moms around the world who won’t have the same opportunity to celebrate their child’s fifth birthday. This is because every day, 16,000 children die of preventable causes, like pneumonia, diarrhea and malnutrition.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Low-cost, high-impact prevention and treatment of these illnesses can help save millions of lives. The United States has been a world leader in helping moms and kids around the world to survive.

But with thousands of children dying every day, there is more to do.

That’s why I urge my member of Congress, Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, to join more than 150 other Republicans and Democrats in co-sponsoring the Reach Every Mother and Child Act.

This legislation would scale up the most effective treatments to save the lives of millions of children. It also increases accountability and transparency so Congress can be sure that our development dollars are being spent wisely.

Celebrating my daughter’s fifth birthday was a joyous occasion for our family. All moms should have the same opportunity to see their children thrive, no matter where they live.

Diana Onken