Senate Introduces “Reach” Bill to Help End Maternal, Newborn and Child Deaths Worldwide

Media Contact: Brendan Daly (202.794.1580)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 30, 2015) – Save the Children Action Network (SCAN) President Mark Shriver today applauded Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) for introducing legislation that would help save the lives of mothers and babies around the world.

“The United States has an unprecedented opportunity to accelerate its leadership and fulfill its promise to help end preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths within a generation,” said Shriver. “Working with other countries, international organizations and private partners, we can save millions of additional lives. Developing countries have the highest rate of moms and babies dying from preventable causes. This new bill can change this sobering fact by investing in and scaling up proven and inexpensive solutions that save lives.”

The Reach Every Mother and Child Act is a bold, bipartisan bill supported by more than 20 diverse non-profit groups, including SCAN, working on ending maternal and infant mortality overseas. This crucial legislation can dramatically reduce preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths worldwide – helping achieve the U.S. commitment to substantially contributing to ending these deaths by 2035.

Since 1990, deaths of mothers and children under age 5 worldwide have been nearly cut in half. Mortality rates are declining faster than they ever have before. This is one of the great success stories in international development over the last 25 years. Progress has largely been achieved with simple solutions and proven, inexpensive interventions that address leading causes of death, including diarrhea, pneumonia, malnutrition and complications during pregnancy and birth.

In 2014, the U.S. laid out a roadmap to take even more aggressive action to save 15 million children’s lives and 600,000 women’s lives by 2020 in Acting on the Call: Ending Preventable Child and Maternal Deaths. The Reach Act embraces those ambitious goals, which experts agree are difficult but achievable.

The Collins-Coons bill would coordinate a U.S. government strategy to end preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths. It would require bold targets to be set, tracked and annually reported on, focusing on the poorest and most vulnerable populations. Additionally, the bill would improve coordination among the U.S. government agencies, relevant foreign governments, international organizations and other partners. It would also create new innovative public-private financing mechanisms to complement and leverage strong bilateral U.S. investments.

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Save the Children Action Network is the political voice for kids. We believe that every child deserves the best start in life. That’s why we’re building bipartisan will and voter support to make sure every child in the U.S. has access to high-quality early learning and that no mother or child around the globe dies from a preventable disease or illness. By investing in kids and holding leaders accountable, we are helping kids from birth to age five survive and thrive.