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The multisector U.S. contribution to child survival

The United States plays an integral role in the effort to improve child health and survival in the developing world. And its overall contribution to this global endeavor comes from virtually every segment of American society: foundations, universities and research institutions, non-profits, government, and the private sector. Representing different constituencies and a broad range of priorities, each of these sectors brings unique skills, resources and experience to the effort. Together, their activities and initiatives provide a generous and far-reaching contribution to global child health and survival.

Much of the achievement that has taken place in child survival during the past two decades is due to the leveraged resources and synergy that has resulted from partnerships among these various sectors. Benefiting from a common vision and shared resources and knowledge, innovative partnerships such as the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI) and Polio Eradication (WHO and UNICEF), involve organizations from a variety of sectors, and have changed the way the world approaches important global child health and survival problems.

The solutions to alleviating the health and nutrition problems of the world's children will not likely come from any single initiative, organization or sector. They will require the combined efforts of many. Future progress and success in filling in the critical gaps in global child health and survival depends not only on increased commitment and resources, but also the greater coordination and partnership among the many groups involved in these efforts.

Recognizing the significance of this multisector effort and the need for a strong domestic voice on the issues of global child health, the US Coalition for Child Survival brings together organizations and institutions from each of these important U.S. sectors to encourage dialogue, knowledge-sharing and collaboration.


The US can do more...

PVOs, NGOs and civic organizations

Private voluntary organizations (PVOs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), both in the U.S. and abroad, play a pivotal role in developing and carrying out child survival programs. Over the past ten years, U.S. PVOs and NGOs have implemented over $8 billion in development assistance programs ranging from maternal and child health and nutrition, to education and literacy, to infrastructure and income-generating activities. Organizations such as Save the Children and PLAN International with overseas field offices, are in touch with the local people and organizations.

With close connections to staff and partners in developing countries, these groups have the knowledge and experience to deliver services to the world's most underserved women and children, facilitate research efforts, and help local and national governments implement programs.

The activities of civic organizations, such as Rotary International's polio program, Kiwanis International's iodine deficiency program, and the Lion's Club guineaworm program, have also had an important impact on global child survival efforts through the generosity and involvement of their members. Overall, both PVOs/NGOs and civic organizations provide important resources to launch innovative child health strategies and raise the visibility for child survival issues among the public and policy makers.






The foundation community has a long history of supporting initiatives to improve the health of mothers and children in developing countries. Private foundations such as the Rockefeller and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundations along with many others have served as prime movers in child survival efforts, especially during the past decade. With their financial and organizational resources and visibility, foundations do a great deal to put the issues of international child and maternal health on the global agenda, build coalitions of organizations to address these important issues, and provide grants as incentives for action.




Universities and research institutions

Academic and research institutions specializing in public and international health provide much of the research, technological development, and application that has been the underpinning for much of the progress made in child health and survival. Universities and research institutions such as the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, Emory University and others serve as important partners to governments, foundations, and non-profits, equipping them with important data and technology that they can put to work in developing countries.



The U.S. government

The U.S. government's involvement in global child survival and health is rooted in the attitudes of Americans themselves. Americans strongly support programs for child immunization, nutrition, prenatal care and safe motherhood, and they view children's health as a top priority for foreign aid. Those issues are also the top priority for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which has provided over $2.5 billion in assistance to child survival programs since 1990, through its support for special initiatives like polio eradication, vitamin A supplementation and food aid. Together with other government partners - the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - USAID provides the expertise and financial support that are the lifeblood of many partnerships and programs in child health and survival worldwide.



U.S. corporations

In the effort to improve the health of the world's children, U.S. corporations play a critical role that goes well beyond simply making financial donations to support a cause. Many companies, across a broad range of industries, have joined the global child survival effort as active partners with a stake in its success. Recognizing both the urgency of child survival and the enormous impact that the private sector can have on global child health, U.S. and foreign-based companies in the U.S. are engaging in important public-private partnerships with other key organizations to support child survival.

By leveraging the appropriate talents and resources from the different partners to meet focused goals, these partnerships have become the basis for action on a number of important global health issues. Market-based approaches to solving some of the critical child health issues, such as malaria and micronutrient deficiency, are also being explored by a number of different companies. Companies like Proctor & Gamble and American Home Products to BD, Merck & Co. and GlaxoSmithKline bring to the table the expertise, resources and technology that are critical to the long-term success of public health programs for children. Their contributions include development and distribution of new technologies, improvements in the management of large-scale national immunization programs, accountability systems, and the low-cost, high-volume manufacture of medicines and other products. Pharmaceutical and biomedical companies have donated drugs to treat millions of people with diseases ranging from river blindness to tetanus. Most recently, a number of drug manufacturing companies have begun providing, at cost, AIDS medications for patients in developing countries who had neither the access to the drugs nor the money to pay for them.