WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) and introduced the Reach Every Mother and Child Act, bipartisan legislation that would strengthen the United States’ efforts to end preventable deaths of mothers, newborns, and young children in the developing world by 2030.

“Through international coordination, great progress has been made in reducing mortality rates for mothers and their children in countries around the world – yet we must continue to build on this progress to end preventable illnesses like malaria and pneumonia,” said Senator Coons. “The Reach Act would prioritize interventions to reduce these conditions as a key component of our international health efforts. By directing USAID to develop and implement a sweeping strategy that supports maternal and child health, the bill would save lives and promote stability. I look forward to working with Senator Collins to advance it into law.”

“Although progress has been made in improving the health of mothers and children, it is a tragedy that millions of preventable deaths still occur annually,” said Senator Collins. “Our bipartisan legislation would help save the lives of mothers and their kids around the world with simple, proven, cost-effective interventions, including clean birthing practices, vaccines, and nutritional supplements.”

“As communities globally respond to the far-reaching consequences of COVID-19, the U.S. can and must do more to stand behind them. The Reach Act is a powerful example of the kind of support needed, and the role the U.S. can and must play in ending preventable maternal and child deaths,” said Dr. Joanne Carter, Executive Director of RESULTS. “We’re especially grateful to the bipartisan leadership of Sen. Collins and Sen. Coons in pushing for Congress to do its part in making sure every mother and child is reached with the quality health services that are their right.”

“Save the Children applauds Senators Collins and Coons for reintroducing the bipartisan Reach Every Mother and Child Act,” said Christy Gleason, Vice President of Policy, Advocacy, and Campaigns at Save the Children. “While U.S. investments have played a crucial role in reducing child mortality rates by more than half in the last 25 years, progress has been the slowest for newborns. Globally, 2.7 million newborns die each year, and 2.6 million babies are stillborn. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated these persistent challenges, and U.S. leadership is needed now more than ever to reach our goal of ending preventable child and maternal deaths.”

"COVID-19 has had devastating effects on the health of marginalized mothers and children around the world. If passed, The Reach Every Mother and Child Act would assist USAID in leading its commitment to helping end preventable maternal and child health globally,” said Carla Costa Sandine, Chief of External Affairs, PATH. “Investing in high-impact, low-cost solutions such as vaccines and medicines in key countries is a proven and effective strategy for saving lives. We urge Senators to support the Reach Act, as well as to bolster the US foreign assistance funding necessary to realizing the Act’s goals.”

“World Vision is grateful for the bipartisan leadership of Senators Collins and Coons in introducing the Reach Every Mother and Child Act of 2021. The legacy of U.S. leadership for child and maternal health is critical in the wake of a global pandemic that has impacted so many mothers and children,” said Margaret Schuler, Senior Vice President of International Programs, World Vision. “The bill builds on the incredible progress that has been made through collaboration between governments, NGOs, faith communities and the private sector and will help to ensure we meet our shared goal – ending preventable child and maternal deaths. I encourage every Member of the Senate to support this legislation and the U.S. foreign assistance funding necessary to realize our goals.”

Nearly 300,000 women die annually from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. In addition, a significant proportion of those under five years old occur in the first 28 days of birth, with newborns accounting for nearly 50 percent of all under-five deaths. In 2019, 5.2 million children under-five died from mainly preventable and treatable diseases.

The United States has been a global leader in reaching mothers and children in developing countries with life-saving interventions, including skilled birth attendants, basic resuscitation options for newborns, vaccinations, and other cost-effective, evidence-based interventions.

The Reach Act would aim to assist additional mothers and children by:

  • Implementing a strategy focused on bringing to scale the highest impact, evidence-based interventions, with a focus on country and community ownership; 
  • Establishing a Maternal and Child Survival Coordinator at USAID who would focus on implementing the strategy and verifying that the most effective interventions are scaled up in target countries;
  • Improving government efficiency across several agencies that would collaborate with the Coordinator to identify and promote the most effective interventions to end preventable maternal and child deaths globally;
  • Promoting transparency and greater accountability; and
  • Requiring detailed public reporting on progress toward implementing the strategy.

Full text of the bill is available here.

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