Speaking at a health conference in Norway on Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the United States would provide $75 million a new private-public effort, dubbed "Saving Mothers, Giving Life," which aims "to improve the health of mothers and their babies in developing countries," Agence France-Presse reports (Mannion, 6/2). "At the same conference, Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr said Norway would devote up to about $80 million to the effort, whose partners include drug maker Merck & Co. and nonprofit Every Mother Counts," Reuters writes (Mohammed, 6/1). "The aim of 'Saving Mothers' is to reduce maternal deaths by 50 percent in 12 months -- by June 2013," GlobalPost's "Global Pulse" blog notes (Fleischman, 6/1).
"Starting in Uganda and Zambia, [the initiative] is focusing on helping mothers during labor, delivery, and during the first 24 hours after a birth, when two of every three maternal deaths occur and 45 percent of newborn deaths occur," VOA News reports (Stearns, 6/1). "It was developed to strengthen district health services by building clinics and labs, training staff, improving supply chains, ensuring safe blood supplies and improving record-keeping systems," according to United Press International (6/1). "The initiative draws from both funds and the experience from the U.S. international AIDS response programs to focus on what proponents say is a key health care challenge with broad implications for societies as a whole," AFP adds (6/2). "The 'Saving Mothers' project is the first concrete expression of how the Obama Administration's Global Health Initiative (GHI) can change the way the U.S. government operates in the global health arena," "Global Pulse" writes (6/1).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.