In 1985, 40,000 children around the world died every day of easily preventable causes. That’s as if 100 jumbo jets filled with kids crashed daily, and it didn’t even make the headlines. Today, the number of children dying each day preventable causes is down to 16,000. This huge improvement occurred in large part because of the efforts of the U.S. Agency for International Development, USAID, which has long been at the forefront of reducing maternal and child deaths through the programs it administers. The proposed Reach Every Mother and Child Act of 2015 (S 1911 and HR 3706) will help USAID become even more effective, and Florida’s elected officials should vote to pass this legislation in Congress.
A recent report by a group of high-level business and development experts identified several budgetary and management challenges within USAID that must be addressed to speed progress toward the goal of ending maternal and child deaths by 2035. These bipartisan bills seek to create more oversight and accountability, and more efficient use of humanitarian-aid funds.
The Reach Every Mother and Child Act of 2015 will make important reforms become law. Supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics, this legislation promotes what works, including quality prenatal care, management of the birthing process, and basic treatments necessary for child health and disease prevention. Unlike many of the world’s problems, this is one that we can solve.
This law will help to create stable, prosperous communities, reducing the need for people in impoverished nations to leave in the hope of creating a healthy existence elsewhere. As a primary destination for poor immigrants, South Florida pays a heavy price for instability and lack of basic needs abroad. Kids everywhere should be healthy enough go to school and pursue their hopes and dreams. Congress should act now.
Ellen Kempler and Barbara Mihm, RESULTS Miami