Flag of India

Partnering for a Better Future for India's Women and Children

Speeches Shim

Partnering for a Better Future for India's Women and Children

Child deaths in India have dropped by 45% since 1990. India’s success in improving child survival is proof that there can be a better future for India’s mothers and children. By scaling high-impact interventions, we can save 4.3 million children and 128,000 women in the next five years. 

Since 1990, USAID’s efforts contributed to saving the lives of an additional 2 million children. Despite this progress, much more work remains: close to one million children still die each year —almost 660,000 of them in their first month of life—and 32,500 women die annually. More than 30 million women in India want to avoid pregnancy, but are not using modern family planning methods. Enabling couples and individuals to access family planning information and services—regardless of when and how many children they wish to have—is vital for safe motherhood, healthy families, and prosperous communities.


MATERNAL AND CHILD HEALTH: USAID works to improve access and quality of basic health services for women and children, helping to save millions of lives. The vast majority of maternal and child deaths occur despite existing known and affordable treatments. Through partnerships with the Government of India, the private sector, and civil society, USAID demonstrates how high-impact solutions can put India on a path to save the lives of mothers and children. USAID’s health programs improve the quality of care at birth and help reduce pneumonia, diarrhea, and malnutrition—the leading causes of infant death. USAID strengthens the knowledge and skills of health care providers in both government and private health facilities, and ensures availability of essential medicines through technology-enabled distribution solutions. USAID partners with professional medical associations to support accreditation or ratings for private maternal and child health facilities. USAID also supports community-level approaches by promoting healthy behaviors and building the skills of community health workers, focusing on the lifesaving impact around the time of delivery. Malnutrition is an underlying driver of maternal and child deaths. To address this challenge, USAID promotes positive and sustainable nutritional practices within local communities. The Government of India prioritized the national polio program, which contributed to India’s ability to become polio free.  This success demonstrates that it is possible to reach all children with life-saving healthcare, including vaccines.  However, more than 7 million children are only partially immunized in India and 1.5 million are not immunized at all. USAID strengthens India’s routine immunization system by improving the coverage of existing vaccines and introducing newer vaccines, such as rotavirus and pneumococcal vaccines.  

FAMILY PLANNING: Family planning has profound health, economic, and social benefits for families and communities. In India, there is an urgent need to delay the age of first pregnancy, enable appropriate birth spacing, and prevent unintended pregnancies. Using evidence-based research, USAID’s family planning program supports an individual’s right to make an informed and voluntary choice about their use of family planning, and promotes access to any desired family planning method. The program also focuses on healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies and reducing the number of unintended pregnancies. USAID works to expand available contraceptive methods, service delivery channels, and awareness of family planning methods—especially for young people—helping improve the quality of family planning services. In addition, USAID is working to expand the reach and improve the quality of urban health services for the urban poor and reduce their out-of-pocket medical costs.  


  • Strengthened service provision and skills of  health care providers in 4,160 facilities.
  • Supported quality improvements in 435 facilities, resulting in a 14 percent reduction in neonatal mortality.
  • Supported work to prevent 25,000 pneumonia deaths and 14,000 diarrheal deaths.
  • Leveraged $43 million in private capital for holistic adolescent health and development with an initial $8 million investment.
  • Promoted informed family planning choice in almost 120,000 urban health and nutrition day sessions in 18 cities.