U.S. House Introduces Bill to Save the Lives of Millions of Moms and Kids

Media Contact: Brendan Daly (202.794.1580)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 7, 2015) – Save the Children Action Network (SCAN) President Mark Shriver today applauded U.S. Representatives Dave Reichert (R-Wash.), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Michael McCaul (R-Texas) for introducing legislation that would help save the lives of mothers and children around the world.

“The United States has an unprecedented opportunity to help end preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths within a generation,” said Shriver. “Through collaboration with other countries, international organizations and private partners, we can save millions of lives. We have already made great progress, but 16,000 children under the age of 5 die from preventable causes every day. This new bill can change this heartbreaking fact by investing in and scaling up proven and innovative 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 to end maternal, newborn and child mortality overseas. This crucial legislation can dramatically reduce preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths worldwide – helping achieve the U.S. commitment to end these deaths within a generation.

Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) introduced a companion bill in the Senate in July. It now has four more cosponsors.

The Reach Act 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.

Since 1990, worldwide deaths of mothers and children under age 5 have been cut by more than half. Mortality rates are declining faster than they ever have before, constituting one of the great success stories in international development over the last 25 years. Progress has largely been achieved with 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 these ambitious goals, which experts agree are difficult but achievable.

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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.