No matter where you live, being a new mom can be stressful! But for families in the developing world, malnutrition, pneumonia, and malaria make it even scarier.

Where children are born shouldn’t determine whether they survive. God wants fullness of life for every child — and all moms deserve the right medical care to safely deliver and nurture their children.

Every March, members of Congress have a chance to co-sign a letter affirming the importance of funding for mother and child health through organizations like World Vision. Read the House and Senate letters below:

House letter:

Dear Chair Lowey and Ranking Member Rogers:

As you begin consideration of the Department of State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill for fiscal year (FY) 2021, we strongly urge you to allocate $900 million for the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) account—including $290 million for GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance—and an additional $200 million for the Nutrition account. This funding is critical to preserving effective, evidence-based, poverty-focused assistance that saves lives and helps strengthen economies in developing countries.

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) MCH and Nutrition programs form the backbone of the U.S. commitment to help end preventable child and maternal deaths globally. While reductions in global mortality rates for women and children are two of the biggest success stories in international development, there remain significant gaps that additional investments and continued U.S. support can help close.

For example, in 2018 over 5.3 million children under the age of five died from mainly preventable and treatable diseases. A growing proportion of under-five deaths occur in the first 28 days after birth, with approximately 7,000 newborns dying each day. And while deaths from illnesses such as malaria, and HIV have dropped significantly, progress in preventing deaths from pneumonia and diarrhea have been much slower, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. While there are vaccines to prevent the deadliest cases, pneumonia and diarrheal diseases are still leading killers for children under five. Finally, recent estimates suggest that more than 300,000 women continue to die annually of preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth, almost all in low-resource settings.

To continue progress and address these persistent challenges, MCH programs support the delivery of low-cost, proven, life-saving services in 25 priority countries where the burden of preventable deaths is the highest. USAID’s generous investments help provide access to skilled birth attendants and emergency obstetric care; training for frontline health workers; clean water, sanitation, and hygiene; life-saving health commodities; and research and development of innovative tools.

A critical portion of the MCH account supports GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, which provides new and underutilized vaccines to developing countries. This public-private partnership has enabled the immunization of 760 million children since 2000, saving over an estimated 13 million lives. GAVI recently launched its third replenishment with an ambitious goal of immunizing an additional 300 million children by 2025. Continued U.S. support of this partnership is critical to help save up to 8 million lives.

The Nutrition account supports nutrition-specific programs for women and children, focusing on the first 1,000 days between pregnancy and a child’s second birthday. These programs can make a tremendous impact on a child’s ability to learn and, later on in life, secure employment and provide for their families as healthy adults. Absent quality nutrition and early intervention health services, a child’s physical and cognitive development is at risk of being stunted. Almost a quarter of the world’s children never reach their full earning, social, and economic potential because of this. U.S. leadership in support of nutrition is particularly critical this year to bolster global commitments to scale up this important intervention.

Again, we urge you to allocate $900 million for MCH and $200 million for Nutrition programs in FY21, along with continued support for other programs that contribute to the health and wellbeing of families and communities in developing countries. We look forward to working with you to ensure that the United States maintains its leadership in this global effort.

Senate letter:

Dear Chairman Graham and Ranking Member Leahy:

We appreciate your leadership and substantial support for life-saving maternal and child health and nutrition interventions globally. As you begin consideration of the Department of State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill for fiscal year (FY) 2021, we strongly urge you to allocate robust funding for the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) account—including Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance—and the Nutrition account. This funding is critical to preserving effective, evidence-based, poverty-focused assistance that saves lives and helps strengthen economies in developing countries.

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) MCH and Nutrition programs form the backbone of the U.S. commitment to help end preventable child and maternal deaths globally. While reductions in global mortality rates for mothers and children are two of the biggest success stories in international development, there remain significant gaps that additional investments and continued U.S. leadership can help close.

For example, a growing proportion of under-five deaths occur in the first 28 days after birth, with approximately 7,000 newborns dying each day. While deaths from illnesses such as malaria and HIV have dropped significantly, progress in preventing deaths from pneumonia and diarrhea has been much slower, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Today, there are vaccines to prevent the deadliest cases but pneumonia and diarrheal diseases remain leading killers of children under five. Finally, recent estimates suggest that more than 300,000 women continue to die annually of preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.

To continue progress and address these persistent challenges, MCH programs support the delivery of low-cost, proven, life-saving services in twenty-five priority countries where the burden of preventable deaths is the highest. USAID’s generous investments help provide access to skilled birth attendants and emergency obstetric care; training for frontline health workers; clean water, sanitation, and hygiene; life-saving health commodities; and research and development of innovative tools. A critical portion of the MCH account supports global polio eradication efforts along with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which provides new and underutilized vaccines to developing countries.

The Nutrition account supports nutrition-specific programs for women and children, focusing on the first 1,000 days between pregnancy and a child’s second birthday. These programs can make a tremendous impact on a child’s ability to learn and, later on in life, secure employment and provide for their families as healthy adults. Absent quality nutrition and early intervention health services, a child’s physical and cognitive development is at risk of being stunted. Almost a quarter of the world’s children never reach their full earning, social, and economic potential because of this. USAID has found that nutrition investments have one of the highest returns– every $1 invested in nutrition results in up to $35 in economic returns.

Funding for maternal and child health and nutrition is among the most cost-effective, lifesaving investments the United States can make. Thank you for your leadership on these issues and for your continued support for these and other efforts that contribute to the health and well-being of families in developing countries. We urge your continued strong support for these programs in the FY 2021 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill. We look forward to working with you to ensure that the U.S. maintains its leadership in this global effort.

Please use our simple, pre-filled form to contact your legislators and ask them to sign this compassionate letter supporting moms and kids before the deadline on April 10. Together, we can pave the way for moms and babies to not just survive, but thrive!

ACT NOW:

**When you submit your details, you agree to receive occasional updates about World Vision’s campaigns. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Top photo: A mother and her child in the Dulce Tierra Nuevo Sol community in Colombia. © 2019 World Vision, Ben Adams

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *