Focusing on Global Health in May
The United States Agency for
International Development (USAID) is a federal agency dedicated to improving
the lives of the world's poorest people through educational initiatives,
international financing programs and outreach initiatives. First established in
the 1960s by former President John F. Kennedy, USAID works across a variety of
sectors, including global health, and ChildFund, as well as other
nongovernmental humanitarian organizations, implements programs with funding
support from USAID. A recent survey conducted by ChildFund found that while
Americans largely want developing countries to shoulder more responsibility,
they also tend to drastically overestimate the amount of U.S. support to foreign
countries, which is around 1 percent of the annual federal budget.
Much work remains to be
done to help children and families worldwide. That's why USAID has designated
May and the start of June as Global Health Month+, and during the
awareness-building campaign, USAID will focus on a different aspect of
international health needs and accomplishments. From May 1 to 10, USAID is
science, technology and innovation play a crucial role in improving global
Leveraging the Power of Technology
One of the greatest
challenges faced in many developing nations is the lack of modern health care
facilities. A lack of medicines, equipment and trained physicians has a negative
impact on infants' survival rates. To address this urgent problem, USAID
launched its "Helping Babies Breathe" program, an initiative that has trained
more than 100,000 health care providers in newborn resuscitation in 50 countries
around the world over the past two years.
ChildFund has worked
with USAID in a number of countries, and with the assistance of USAID grants in
some cases, we have launched programs that have made a tangible difference and
lowered child and maternal mortality rates in some of the world's poorest
countries. For example, in Senegal, mothers and their children
face a variety of challenges, including preventable diseases like malaria.
Health huts, supported by ChildFund, have distributed more than 800,000
chemically treated mosquito nets in Senegal, as well as clean water and medical
supplies like immunizations and medication.
The community health
program headed by ChildFund in Senegal is a prime example of how child
development agencies and USAID can work together to achieve common goals. In
1998, we launched a childhood nutrition program that was extended until 2006
with funding from USAID, and in that same year, USAID awarded ChildFund $12.8
million to lead a consortium of nongovernmental organizations in a five-year
community health project.
recent report to Congress, USAID identified several key areas that can be
improved upon to bring life-saving technologies to the world's poorest
countries, including forging new global partnerships to overcome distribution
bottlenecks, and new delivery systems to ensure communities in desperate need of
medicines receive the equipment and supplies they need to save lives.
Every year, almost 7
million children die due to preventable illnesses. USAID, working with partners
like ChildFund, aims to reduce this number and improve the lives of millions of
children around the world. USAID will be posting regular articles on its
official blog about how leveraging the power of technology
is crucial to achieving this goal. Together, we can make a difference and fight
child poverty around the world.