Jun. 25

USAID Announces Efforts to Save 500,000 Lives by 2015 and Realign $2.9B in Spending

by Ray Chambers

USAID Efficiency and Effectiveness Review Leads to Reprogramming of  $2.9 Billion in 24 Countries; 500,000 Children’s Lives Estimated To Be Saved by 2015

Today the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced that it is realigning $2.9 billion of the Agency’s resources to save up to half a million children from preventable deaths by the end of 2015—refocusing resources on high-impact programs with proven track records to save the most lives.

USAID also released a transparent action plan that reveals how the Agency, working with the global community, will prioritize results for the most at-risk families in the most vulnerable countries. USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah announced these goals, along with more than $600 million in new public/private partnerships and awards with 26 partners and representatives from the governments of all 24 priority countries (most at the ministerial level) at the Acting on the Call: Ending Preventable Child and Maternal Deaths forum in Washington, D.C.

“Every day this year, 17,000 more children will live—and 700 more mothers will survive childbirth—than 20 years ago,” said Shah. “Right now, we are partnering with engines of innovation — corporations, foundations, NGOs, faith-based communities, entrepreneurs and local leaders—to solve one of the greatest development challenges: ending extreme poverty and build thriving, resilient societies. We know that, by working with the global community, we can end preventable child and maternal deaths, which is critical to our own national security, economic prosperity and moral leadership.”

The Acting on the Call forum was co-hosted by the Governments of Ethiopia and India, in collaboration with UNICEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and other partners. Honoring the commitments made at the Child Survival: Call to Action in 2012, where countries around the world signed a pledge to end preventable death, global health leaders from governments, faith-based organizations, civil society and the private sector gathered to assess recent efforts aimed at reducing child and maternal deaths and plot a new course that will ensure progress continues.

Since 2009, the United States has invested more than $13 billion in child and maternal survival—a 56 percent increase in annual funding. Now, after a careful review of every dollar spent across 24 countries, USAID is aligning its resources with those of partner countries—creating a double-down effect on targeted efforts to reduce child and maternal deaths.

Ray Chambers, UN Special Envoy for Financing the Health Millennium Development Goals and Malaria, worked for 18 months with Shah and a panel of esteemed business, health and development experts and bipartisan former Congress members to identify opportunities for improved efficiency and effectiveness that will realign $2.9 billion of the Agency’s resources by the end of 2015 to save up to 500,000 children from preventable deaths.

The panel also strongly recommended that USAID centralize decision making and restructure procurement processes by establishing a maternal and child health coordinator, following the model of USAID’s own President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI). The proposed coordinator would be tasked with overseeing USAID’s near- and longer-term goals for impact, as well as working to gain greater contracting and operational efficiency, and have substantially greater budgetary and approval authority. This panel review and recommendations are a part of the longer-term initiative USAID has undertaken over the course of several years—a series of reforms that position the Agency to lead the fight to end extreme poverty around the world.

“We applaud USAID for its commitment to improving efficiency and effectiveness in its quest to save more lives and improve health among the world’s most vulnerable people,” said Chair of the Blue Ribbon Advisory Panel Ray Chambers, United Nations Special Envoy for Financing the Health Millennium Development Goals and For Malaria.   “In embracing the Panel’s recommendations in their entirety, and learning from its own groundbreaking President’s Malaria Initiative, USAID is transforming how money is spent, and is leading a new way of tracking lives saved and measuring economic impact.   As a businessman who understands return on investment, I am confident that this focus on impact – measured most clearly by the 500,000 additional lives to be saved by the end of 2015 that Administrator Shah announced today – combined with the clear management authority of a child and maternal health Coordinator, will transform how business is done.”

The Blue Ribbon Panel recommendations to USAID can be downloaded in their entirety on the website of the Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid (ACVFA).

In addition to the efficiency and effectiveness recommendations of the Panel, USAID announced more than $600 million dollars in new partnerships and awards with more than 26 partners, including:

  • USAID and Jhpiego, along with a consortium of global organizations, announced a new $500 million flagship award, USAID’s “Maternal and Child Survival Program.” The program will ensure that the women, newborns, and children most in need have equitable access to quality health care services. The program will also help to save lives by supporting the introduction, scaling, and sustainability of high-impact reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health interventions.
  • USAID also announced that it has joined an important partnership with Project Last Mile, alongside The Coca-Cola Company and its Foundations, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Accenture Development Partnerships (ADP), the The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Yale Global Health Leadership Institute, and Global Environment and Technology Foundation. In support of Project Last Mile, USAID and partners will expand the project by investing more than $21 million to help provide access to critical medicines and medical supplies to African communities in 10 countries, up from two. The project has already made a significant impact—in Tanzania, the government has reorganized and expanded its distribution system from 150 drop-off points in 2010 to 5,500 health care facilities now.
  • USAID, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and pediatric associations of Nigeria, India, and Ethiopia announced the “Helping 100,000 Babies Survive and Thrive” partnership, a new initiative aimed at saving at least 100,000 newborn lives each year in partnership with Laerdal Global Health, Johnson & Johnson, the Government of Norway, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This is an expansion of the Survive and Thrive Global Development Alliance, which was announced at the 2012 Call to Action.
  • Working with key partners such as USAID, Johnson & Johnson will reaffirm its dedication to create a world in which no baby diesfromapreventablecausethroughthelaunchofanew5-year,$30millioncommitmenttosavemorenewbornlives. As part of this, Johnson & Johnson will contribute $1 million to the new USAID-led initiative “Helping 100,000 Babies Survive and Thrive.”
  • Tore Laerdal, managing director of Laerdal Global Health and executive director of Laerdal Foundation, announced a commitment of $55 million in support of USAID ‘s public private partnerships, including the new Helping 100,000 Babies Survive and Thrive, and other partners’ efforts to end preventable newborn and maternal deaths.
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