Global health leaders examine progress and share best practices for ending maternal and child death


A mother weighs her child during a pentavalent and polio vaccination session at a rural health clinic in India. Credit: Gavi/2013/Manpreet Romana.

New Delhi, India, 31 August 2015 - Global health leaders from around the world, including Gavi’s Deputy CEO Anuradha Gupta, gathered in New Delhi for the Call to Action Summit last week to reaffirm their commitment to ending maternal and child death - including through immunisation.

The two-day summit brought together health ministers from the 24 priority countries that first committed to the global Call to Action for Child Survival in June 2012, as well as global health experts from the private sector, civil society and media. The event was hosted by the Government of India, along with Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health, USAID, UNICEF, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Tata Trusts and WHO.

In her presentation, Gupta emphasised the need to mobilise sufficient resources to help developing countries immunise children with all WHO-recommended vaccines. She highlighted the key role of Gavi’s unique innovative finance mechanisms in achieving this goal as well as the efforts of developing countries to increase their capacity to immunise children.

“It’s not enough to focus on many women and many children, we need to make sure we reach every woman and every child,” said Gupta. “Reaching the hardest-to-reach children, those who don’t get even basic vaccines and other health services only because they are invisible, silent and under-resourced, is the next imperative”.

Acting on the Call

To mark the Call to Action Summit, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) released a new report detailing its progress in maternal and child survival in the 24 priority countries since 2008.

This is an historic time in the advancement of public health. Ending preventable child and maternal deaths is a bold vision.  

Acting USAID Administrator Alfonso Lenhardt

The report, titled ‘Acting on the Call: ending preventable child and maternal deaths,’ documents how USAID’s efforts have resulted in the survival of nearly two-and-a-half million children and 200,000 fewer maternal deaths. In addition, USAID sets out plans to ensure 38 million of the most vulnerable women around the world have increased access to healthcare during child delivery by 2020.

“This is an historic time in the advancement of public health,” said Acting USAID Administrator Alfonso Lenhardt. “Ending preventable child and maternal deaths is a bold vision.”

The report also outlines how USAID is working to optimise investments in vaccines and establish immunisation as part of its broader approach to strengthening primary healthcare.

Since 1990, under-5 mortality has nearly halved – from 12.6 million to almost 6 million. It is no coincidence that this reduction has occurred at the same time as significant increases in global immunisation coverage in poor countries.

In 2000, Gavi was created to improve access to new and underused vaccines for children living in the world’s poorest countries. The United States has been an important partner to Gavi and in January 2015 made an historic US$ 1 billion pledge for 4 years. This will support Gavi’s plan to immunise an additional 300 million children, saving 5-6 million lives. The investment will also help support a tenfold increase in the proportion of children who are fully immunised with WHO-recommended vaccines.

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