Senators Coons, Graham and Cardin Introduce Act to Save Lives of Moms and Kids Worldwide

Media Contact: Brendan Daly (202.794.1580)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Sept. 19, 2014) — Save the Children Action Network applauds U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.), Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), and Ben Cardin (D-Md.), all members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, for the introduction of S. 2853, the Accelerating Action in Maternal and Child Health Act.

“Every child deserves a strong start in life and if we invest in them early, from the very beginning, we are giving them the foundation they need for a strong future,” said Mark Shriver, president of Save the Children Action Network, commenting on the introduction of the bill.

This legislation is a great step toward reaching the goal of ending preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths, and we commend the bipartisan leadership on this very critical issue. Save the Children Action Network is joined by a coalition of organizations in support of the Act, including: Every Mother Counts, International Medical Corps, PATH, RESULTS, and World Vision.

The Act will provide tools for the United States government to use to accelerate the reduction of preventable maternal, newborn, and child deaths in 24 United States Agency for International Development focus countries. This helps build upon the tremendous progress made globally in child and maternal survival. According to new report released by UNICEF this week, the global under-five mortality rate has been reduced by 49 percent over the last two decades, and in 2013 there were 300,000 fewer child deaths than in 2012. Maternal deaths globally have also steadily declined, albeit more slowly, since 1990, with 82 countries having either achieved MDG 5 benchmarks on maternal health or making progress toward that goal.

“Developing countries have the highest rate of moms and babies dying from preventable causes. But this new bill can change that. It invests in proven and inexpensive solutions to save millions of lives,” said Shriver. “We can achieve this goal with a 21st century approach focused on true partnership and real outcomes. If we want thriving societies tomorrow with engaged and productive global citizens, we need healthier mothers and children today. When we invest in the health of women and children, we invest in the health and future of our world.”

The Act calls for establishing an innovative financing mechanism for delivering maternal, newborn and child health interventions. The Act will focus on four categories of interventions:

  • Safe motherhood and newborn survival;
  • Healthy households and schools;
  • Nutrition;
  • Healthy childhood.

“Even after impressive progress in the quality of health care being offered to pregnant women, new mothers, and young children in some of the poorest parts of the world, it’s clear that more help is needed,” said Sen. Coons, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs.

“We need to be investing more in USAID’s remarkable public health work. America’s foreign assistance needs to evolve and innovate to meet today’s challenges and respect our nation’s fiscal limitations. Innovative financing mechanisms like development bonds are a creative way to get the private sector more involved in global health and reduce the cost to taxpayers. This bill will help us help more young families survive and stay healthy.”

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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.