For decades, World Vision has partnered with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to implement lifesaving development projects around the world. In this blog series, we’re looking at the success stories of USAID’s 2018 report, Acting on the Call, which describes the amazing progress in child survival in just the last few years. Read the introduction to the series here.

When Gulistan had her first child nearly seven years ago, health facilities in her area were not using many proven and available best practices. Now, as a mom of three, Gulistan is one of the more than 31,900 mothers in the Indian state of Uttarakhand who have benefitted from the USAID-supported “Care around Birth” approach.

Though India has a high burden of maternal and newborn mortality, they are a lower middle income country with the ability to resource their own continued development. Due to the size of India, maternal and newborn mortality comprise 15 percent and 26 percent of the respective global burden.

How is USAID partnering with India?

USAID partners with national and state governments to direct their domestic health investments and ensure they are used most impactfully. USAID provides evidence to governments demonstrating that certain interventions work to address lingering gaps in reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health, and then governments use local resources to scale-up and implement these proven programs across a state or country.

After an initial three-year, $14 million investment by USAID to demonstrate the impact of a number of interventions, India’s national and state governments have invested over $82 million to scale-up a number of these lifesaving approaches. And India recently announced a plan to increase their health spending by 11 percent.

Providing “Care around Birth”

One of these interventions is actually a package of interventions associated with “Care around Birth”—a training approach that teaches health workers best practices, such as keeping skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby, known as Kangaroo Mother Care; encouraging exclusive breastfeeding; vaccinating newborns; learning emergency skills, like how to perform newborn resuscitation; monitoring labor to prevent obstruction; and managing postpartum bleeding. (Click here to read about specific efforts that World Vision undertakes to promote maternal and child health.)

Gulistan recently delivered her youngest child at Community Health Center, Bahadarabad, in the district of Haridwar and was encouraged by the health staff to use Kangaroo Mother Care and exclusively breastfeed for the first six months. Gulistan also received counseling on the importance of waiting to have another child for both her health and the health of her baby. As a result of this, she opted for a method of postpartum family planning and decided to follow-up at the health center for postnatal care, both of which are central to “Care around Birth’s” integrated approach.

What’s the impact of these efforts?

Through the Indian government-funded expansion, the “Care around Birth” approach could save up to 4,686 mothers and 58,619 newborns in India every year.

By supporting the Government of India to identify gaps in care and target their investments toward high-impact interventions now and in the future, USAID’s comparably small investment to prove a concept is leveraged many times over. Its partnership with India is improving service capacity and benefitting women and children across Uttarakhand and all of India.

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Photo: Gulistan is one of the more than 31,900 mothers in the Indian state of Uttarakhand who have benefited from the USAID-supported “Care around Birth” approach. Credit: Amy Fowler/USAID

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