Acting on the Call

Speeches Shim




including over 2.5M newborns who die in their first month and almost 1 million on their first day of life.

In honor of the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, the 2020 Acting on the Call report recognizes the central role that nurses and midwives play in improving the quality of care and in increasing equitable access to care that reduces maternal, newborn, and child mortality. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, nurses and midwives are also on the frontlines of the outbreak response in addition to maintaining essential health care.

Learn more about how USAID supports nurses and midwives with the skills for success.





Since the 2012 Call to Action: 16.1 million women gave birth in a health facility | 15.5 million newborns reached with care after delivery | 92.8 million treatments provided to children for diarrhea and pneumonia | 13.6 million health workers trained in maternal and child health and nutrition | 17.6 million people gained access to basic drinking water -->


Icon: woman holding a baby MATERNAL & CHILD HEALTH

Mothers and children play invaluable roles in families, communities, societies, and economies. One million children are left motherless each year, and these children are then less likely to survive childhood.

In the past ten years, USAID has helped save the lives of more than 9.3 million children and 340,000 women.

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Photo by Kate Holt for JHPIEGO/MCSP


An estimated 214 million women want to delay or stop childbearing but can’t access contraception. Satisfying the global unmet need for family planning could reduce maternal deaths by 30 percent.

In our priority countries, the percent of demand for family planning satisfied by a modern method has increased from 46% in 2012 to 53% in 2017.

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Photo byKate Holt for Jhpiego/MCSP

Icon: A mosquito MALARIA

Approximately 125 million pregnant women annually are at risk of contracting malaria. USAID-supported malaria interventions are implemented to reduce maternal and child mortality.

In countries supported by the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), nationwide surveys show significant declines in mortality rates among children under five, up to 67%.

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Photo by Kate Holt/MCSP and Jhpiego

Icon: A leaf NUTRITION

Malnutrition is an underlying cause of an estimated 45% of child deaths and anemia contributes to 20% of maternal mortality. USAID supports country-owned programs that address the root causes of malnutrition to save the lives of women and children and lay the foundation for healthier futures.

Over the past 10 years, the prevalence of child stunting has decreased from 40% to 32.8% across 19 USAID-supported countries.

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Photo by Spring Project/USAID

Icon: A drop of liquid WATER, SANITATION & HYGIENE

Investments in water, sanitation and hygiene empower women, increase productivity and promote gender equality. Every $1 spent on improving sanitation results in an estimated $5 of economic gain.

In the past decade, USAID’s water activities have helped more than 27.2 million people have gained access to an improved sanitation service.

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Photo by Allan Gichigi/MCSP




Click on a country: USAID's efforts in maternal and child survival focus on 25 priority countries that account for more than 66% of global maternal and child deaths.


Provided 3,478 women with Sayana-Press, a novel injectable that can be easily self-administered or administered by community health workers and pharmacists every three months under the skin to avoid unintended pregnancies


Piloted a new approach to reach the 50 percent of women who do not deliver in health facilities with community-level postpartum and post-abortion family planning care through utilizing frontline health workers and paid peer volunteers to deliver key messages


Supported maternal, neonatal, and child health training for clinicians and a new quality improvement model at one hospital in Rakhine State, which led to a 55 percent increase in infection prevention and 25 percent reduction in complications around labor and delivery in just two years

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Supported communities in nine provinces to revitalize nearly 2,300 sites for integrated community case management of childhood illness (iCCM) and retrained 170 community health workers on updated national protocols to deliver lifesaving iCCM services to hard-to-reach children


Trained 631 nurses and midwives on respectful maternity care, increasing the number of facilities providing women-friendly health support


Facilitated cross-facility collaborations between health workers to share experiences and skills, describe challenges to providing care, and identify solutions. These efforts contributed to a 33 percent reduction in institutional maternal mortality, 41 percent increase in family planning service utilization, and 28 percent reduction in stillbirths among participating districts in just a year and a half


Developed a strategic plan for improving human resources for health in Haiti, including increasing country ownership through a plan for transitioning health workforce salary support from international organizations to the Government of Haiti, and as a result, 100 community health workers’ salaries were included in the domestic health budget for the first time this past year


Partnered with the private sector to train more than 85,000 new nurses to improve their employment prospects and reduce health worker shortages


Partnered with local private sector companies to develop maternal and newborn health corners within nation-wide convenience store chains that provide women with free counseling and check-ups with midwives


Contracted more than 200 health workers across 11 of Kenya's 47 counties to provide maternal, newborn, child health, and nutrition counseling and care in facilities that were not functioning due to lack of skilled staff, and county governments are now working to transition at least 20 percent of these health workers to government payroll in the next year


Updated the national pre-service curriculum for nurses and midwives, in collaboration with the Liberian Board for Nursing and Midwifery, to include training on the Essential Care for Every Baby and the Helping Babies Survive protocols


Trained 9,226 health volunteers across 34 districts on community plague surveillance and preparedness, including measures to support prevention, rapid detection and treatment for new cases, and comprehensive response to potential outbreaks


Coached more than 1,800 front line health providers, including nurses, midwives, and medical doctors, across 824 facilities on the provision of quality reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health, voluntary family planning, and nutrition care


Provided more than 1,100 nurses, clinicians, and other service providers from 869 health facilities and village clinics with training, mentorship, and supportive supervision to implement integrated community case management, a community-level approach to treat malaria, diarrhea, and pneumonia in children under five


Supported health facilities to improve the quality of maternal, newborn, and child health care through updating performance standards and providing training on quality improvement, resulting in 95 percent of supported health facilities improving their performance by at least 50 percent in the past year


Trained 11,632 frontline health workers, including nurses, midwives, and community health workers, to provide integrated nutrition services across 42 targeted districts


Helped establish a community-led emergency transport system which made emergency obstetric and newborn care available and accessible within two hours for 92 percent of households in Cross River State


Supported 47 females and 34 males in a Master of Public Health degree program at Pakistan’s primary public health educational institution to build domestic health expertise and leadership


Provided competency-based on-the-job training and clinical mentorship to more than 2,400 medical providers, including certifying 330 providers as mentors to provide continued support and training to other health care workers


Expanded a professional peer training program for public sector health workers to reach 75 private sector health providers across five major cities to improve the quality of care offered across all types of health facilities

South Sudan

Provided voluntary family planning care to more than 6,000 women through community outreach and health facilities in nine locations, which resulted in more than 1,200 family planning users taking up a wide range of contraceptives, including long-acting, short-acting, and fertility awareness methods


Supported quality improvement efforts in seven nursing and midwifery schools, which led to an 80 percent average improvement among graduates on midwifery competencies such as newborn resuscitation


Provided capacity building training to 389 midwives across 143 private health facilities on basic emergency obstetric and newborn care, elimination of mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDS, and voluntary family planning, which led to 70 percent of the facilities scoring higher than 70 percent on the self-regulatory quality improvement system



Through a public-private partnership with a local bank that built a maternity waiting shelter, supported training for healthcare providers and community volunteers on skilled deliveries, increasing access to health care services for pregnant women in remote, hard-to-reach areas