Saving Mothers, Giving Life Announces Plans to More Than Double its Reach and Increase Attention on Newborns

Building on the positive results from Phase1, the public-private partnership outlines new strategy for Phase 2 expansion in Uganda and Zambia

WASHINGTON, DC, June 25, 2014 – Today, Saving Mothers, Giving Life (SMGL), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-led public-private partnership to accelerate the reduction of maternal and newborn mortality, announced plans to more than double its geographic presence in Uganda and Zambia, with an expanded focus on newborns. The announcement comes on the two-year anniversary of SMGL and follows unprecedented gains in the initiative’s first phase, which yielded impressive results: target districts in Uganda experienced a 30% decline in the maternal mortality ratio, while target facilities in Zambia experienced a 35% decline. Building on this progress, SMGL will add six new districts in Uganda and 12 new districts in Zambia, reaching a total population of 6.8 million people across both countries.

Each year, an estimated three million newborns and nearly 300,000 women do not survive pregnancy, childbirth and the days that follow. As the global heath community looks beyond 2015 and the Millennium Developments Goals, it is setting bold new targets for reductions in maternal and newborn mortality that will require even greater action. In Phase 2, SMGL will seize the opportunity to support global efforts to achieve these new targets by expanding the SMGL model to new districts and scaling up low-tech interventions to improve newborn survival in Uganda and Zambia.  

“Our experience with our partners in Phase 1 provided compelling evidence for the value of setting a high bar for what can be accomplished in a short amount of time. We are optimistic that scaling up the SMGL model and focusing on the quality of newborn care will enable us to advance care for both women and newborns in Phase 2,” said Katie Taylor, Deputy Assistant Administrator for USAID's Bureau for Global Health. “As the initiative expands, we will continue to support what has worked to improve maternal health outcomes by strengthening district capacity for monitoring pregnancy outcomes and enhancing quality of care.” 

SMGL employs a district health systems approach that focuses on labor, delivery and the first 48 hours after birth, the most vulnerable time for both the mother and the baby. The initiative works with governments, local institutions and communities to generate demand for health and HIV/AIDS services, and promote access to and use of quality maternal and newborn health services. To improve newborn care, SMGL will support the governments of Uganda and Zambia to operationalize the evidenced-based, high-impact interventions articulated in the Every Newborn Action Plan that was recently adopted by the World Health Assembly.

More details on SMGL and the expanded programming will be featured in the forthcoming Phase 2 launch report in July.

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The American people, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, have provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for over 50 years.


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