On Friday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged $75 million in U.S. support to the “Saving Mothers, Giving Life” initiative that aims to reduce maternal mortality in Africa, starting in Zambia and Uganda. The Norwegian Foreign Minister said Norway would commit about $80 million to the effort as well.
It is a concentrated pilot in targeted geographic areas of Zambia and Uganda that focuses on a limited time window—the first 24 hours around labor, delivery, and the immediate postpartum period—because two-thirds of maternal deaths and 45 percent of neonatal deaths occur in that crucial span of time. The aim of “Saving Mothers” is to reduce maternal deaths by 50% in 12 months – by June 2013.
Yet the program’s success is far from assured. The question that inevitably arises is whether these big ideas and much-needed goals for reducing maternal mortality can be translated into building the long-term support necessary to address maternal and child health – the core of health systems in developing countries – while reformulating long-standing and sometimes difficult relationships between multiple U.S. agencies that each have a piece of the U.S. global health agenda, all at a time of shrinking U.S. foreign assistance budgets?
Until now, GHI has been more of an approach than a program, which has made it difficult to quantify on the ground. It seeks to solve global health problems by building on and linking with existing health programs and focusing on seven core principles.
Read the full story, Clinton launches ambitious maternal health project, in the Global Post.
US, Norway work to improve maternal health in Africa, Relief Web
U.S., Norway pledge $150 million for maternal health, Chicago Tribune