Although progress has been made over the last several decades in reducing mortality rates worldwide, about 830 mothers die each day in pregnancy and childbirth—leaving children more vulnerable to exploitation and violence.

Since 1990, deaths of children under age 5 worldwide have been cut in half — and maternal deaths have decreased by nearly as much. It’s one of the greatest success stories in international development in the last 25 years. The progress has largely been achieved with proven, inexpensive interventions that address the leading causes of death, including diarrhea, pneumonia, malnutrition, and complications during pregnancy and birth.

However, despite this progress:

  • 830 mothers die each day in pregnancy and childbirth, often leaving children orphaned and vulnerable, and impacting the family’s long term economic outlook.
  • 15,000 children die every day, mostly from preventable and treatable causes such as pneumonia, diarrhea, and malaria.
  • 2.7 million newborns around the world die each year — about 1 million on their very first day of life.

These are not just statistics. These are lives that are precious. As people of faith, we cannot ignore the suffering caused by these often preventable illnesses.

A group in the House of Representatives has come together and written a letter to ask for robust funding for the Maternal and Child Health Account, which includes funds for vaccines and nutrition. This letter will be addressed to appropriators who are beginning to make decisions on how to allocate the foreign assistance budget for next year.

To ensure enough funding to help stop these preventable maternal and child deaths, Congress needs to hear from you. Ask your representative to add his or her name to the letter this month. Let’s encourage our representatives to reach across the aisle as a unified voice for healthy moms and babies.