Bipartisan Coalition Introduces Legislation to Save Lives of Mothers and Children

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Igelo Hellen and baby waiting for medicine at the Kamuda Health Center in Uganda. PHOTO: World Vision
Igelo Hellen and baby waiting for medicine at the Kamuda Health Center in Uganda. PHOTO: World Vision

WASHINGTON, DC (October 8, 2015) — Wednesday, a bipartisan team introduced the Reach Every Mother and Child Act, a bold, bipartisan legislative initiative to dramatically accelerate the reduction of preventable maternal, newborn and childhood deaths worldwide.

The measure was introduced by Congressman David Reichert (R-WA), Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), Congressman Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN).

“Every day, 16,000 children die tragic, preventable deaths before they reach the age of 5,” said Congressman Reichert, the Co-Chair of the Global Health Caucus. “While infant mortality rates have decreased significantly over the past 25 years with the United States’ leadership, these numbers are still heart breaking and unacceptable. With better access to care and services for mothers and children, the REACH Act will not only help families rise out of poverty, but will further efforts to decrease infant mortality, and foster stability and security around the world.”

“In the past fifteen years, the international community has halved the maternal and child mortality rate. This stands as a testament to the power of global cooperation and international development,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee, a member of the international assistance funding subcommittee and one of the Congressional representatives to the 70th UN General Assembly. “Yet, our work is far from over. Each year, more than 1 million babies die on their very first day of life, many from preventable causes. We can and must do more to stop these unnecessary deaths. The REACH Act will save lives while creating a better world for millions.”

“It is astonishing to see how much progress has been made thus far in reducing the number of preventable deaths in some of the world’s most impoverished countries. However, there is still much work that needs to be done,” said Congressman Michael McCaul. “I am proud to be the cosponsor of legislation that will accelerate current efforts to eliminate maternal and child deaths within a generation. By developing a strategic, evidence-based approach that effectively utilizes resources, this bill will help save the lives of millions.”

“16,000 children under the age of five die every day. Improving access to quality health services for mothers, children and newborns around the world must be a United States priority. The REACH Act builds on the remarkable progress the United States has already made to ensure more mothers survive child birth and that more children live to celebrate their 5th birthday,” said Congresswoman Betty McCollum. “By implementing new and cost-effective strategies, better using technology, and coordinating resources, we can reach even more families and achieve our shared global goal of ending preventable maternal and child deaths within a generation. I am pleased to partner with Rep. Dave Reichert and Rep. Barbara Lee on this critical issue.”

According to experts, nearly 300,000 women die annually from pregnancy and childbirth complications. Furthermore, malnutrition contributes to approximately 45 percent of deaths among children under the age of five, totaling more than 3 million mostly preventable deaths each year.

This legislation has already won the support of more than 20 non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including RESULTS, World Vision and Save the Children Action Network.

“The introduction of the Reach Act today is an important step toward a goal we now know is possible: the end of preventable child and maternal deaths,” said Dr. Joanne Carter, executive director of RESULTS. “Last year USAID embraced a set of reforms so that they can support countries to save even more lives, and with congressional support and oversight, they can go even further. We know that this ambitious goal is possible. With the Reach Act, Congress can help make it a reality.”

“The Reach Every Mother and Child Act provides a critical opportunity for the U.S. Government to strengthen its commitment in serving the global poor,” added World Vision President Rich Stearns. “This legislation will ensure that proven cost-effective and life-saving health interventions will be scaled up in the developing world, in order to end preventable maternal and child deaths in our lifetime.”

“We can end preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths within a generation, and this bill will help us do it,” said Save the Children Action Network President Mark Shriver. “I would like to thank Representatives Reichert, Lee, McCaul and McCollum for their leadership and Senators Susan Collins and Chris Coons for introducing a similar bill in the Senate. Every day, 16,000 children under the age of 5 die from preventable causes, like pneumonia and diarrhea. The Reach Act can change this sobering fact by investing in and scaling up proven and inexpensive solutions that save millions of lives.”

The Reach Act is the House companion bill to the Reach Every Mother and Child Act (S. 1911) introduced by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Christopher Coons (D-DE.)

The legislation would:

  • Coordinate U.S. government strategy to end preventable maternal, newborn and childhood deaths and help ensure healthy lives by 2035;
  • Require ambitious targets to be set, tracked and annually reported;
  • Focus on the poorest and most vulnerable populations while recognizing the unique needs within different countries and communities;
  • Improve coordination amongst agencies and foreign governments, civil society and international organizations;
  • Complement strong bilateral investment leveraging innovative, public-private financing mechanisms; and
  • Accelerate partner country progress toward self-sustainability.

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About World Vision:
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization conducting relief, development, and advocacy activities in its work with children, families, and their communities in nearly 100 countries to help them reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. For more information, please visit or on Twitter @WorldVisionUSA.


  • Bill will seek to reach the 5.9 million children and almost 300,000 mothers dying every year from preventable causes.
  • Innovative global health bill calls for a scaling up of evidence-based, cost-effective solutions.