September 15, 2008 —
Recently, I attended a presentation by officials from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) about its new report to Congress: “Working Toward the Goal of Reducing Maternal and Child Mortality: USAID Programming and Response to FY08 Appropriations.” Though the title is a mouthful, the report is an encouraging development in the fight for child survival.
Last year, Congress passed an appropriations bill that included an increase of $90 million for maternal and child health programs. Congress also instructed USAID to report on how its child survival programs are working toward the goal of reducing child mortality by two-thirds. UNICEF advocates pushed for both the funding and the report.
This USAID report noted that the agency will use the $450 million it was given to achieve and sustain the greatest possible reduction of maternal and child mortality and malnutrition. Its strategy includes these elements:
- Focus on maternal, newborn and child mortality reduction as a clear goal
- Identify and scale up high-impact interventions most relevant to the target country
- Support the most effective approaches to delivering key interventions to families and communities
USAID’s strategy complements UNICEF’s proven approach to save children’s lives. We salute USAID for their commitment to child survival.
There is still much to be done