Saving Mothers, Giving Life: New Year, New Results for Maternal Health

Did you know that mothers living with HIV are eight times more likely to die during pregnancy or childbirth than other pregnant women? A newly published study in the Lancet estimates that a quarter of all deaths among pregnant and postpartum women in sub-Saharan Africa are due to HIV.

That’s one reason why new results from Saving Mothers, Giving Life, a public-private partnership including U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), are so encouraging. Saving Mothers, Giving Life plays a critical role in Uganda and Zambia,  In one year alone, this partnership helped to cut maternal deaths due to childbirth in areas of these two countries by 30-35 percent — a truly remarkable achievement.

Read more about this innovative public-private partnership on DipNote!

PEPFAR: Ten Years of Saving Millions of Lives
Ten years ago today, the United States Congress, in a remarkable display of compassion and bipartisanship, passed overwhelmingly legislation that established an historic and transforming global health program now known as PEPFAR — the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

At the time that PEPFAR was conceived of and then established during the George W. Bush administration, the world was witnessing first-hand the destruction of an entire generation of individuals in the prime years of their lives and the reversal of remarkable health and development gains, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and to a lesser extent in other developing nations. Rates of new HIV infections were rising rapidly, and hospitals, communities, and families were often too under-resourced and overwhelmed to cope with the enormity of this burden. At that time in 2003, despite the availability of life-saving antiretroviral therapy (ART) in most countries in the developed world, in southern Africa and other regions of the developing world, an HIV diagnosis meant a virtual death sentence, since few had access to such drugs.

Today, as we mark the 10th anniversary of PEPFAR, the situation has changed dramatically. MORE

Empowering Expectant and New Mothers By Harnessing the Power of Mobile Technology
Secretary Clinton announces the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action in Washington, May 3, 2011.

About the Author: Irene Marr serves in the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues.

On May 3, 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action, a new partnership to strengthen mobile health programs for moms. In remarks introducing the partnership, Secretary Clinton said:

"Now Sunday is Mother’s Day, in case any of you need reminding. And many of us will find ways to celebrate and thank our mothers, and we’ll be grateful for all of the blessings that we’ve been given. But let’s not forget that becoming a mother can be a dangerous and life threatening undertaking. Every year, nearly 360,000 women worldwide don’t survive childbirth. Four million babies die during childbirth or within a few weeks. Most of these… more »

Preventing HIV Infection in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Women wait outside the maternity ward in Mweso, Congo's hospital May 12, 2010. [AP File Photo]

About the Author: Ambassador Eric Goosby serves as the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator.

This week I am traveling in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a country that, while facing many challenges, is home to families who are seeking to build a better future. Health is an important part of a better future for the DRC, and preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) is a key example of a health care service that can strengthen families and communities.

PMTCT provides a triple benefit: in addition to preventing an infant from being infected with HIV, a program can also provide antiretroviral treatment to keep the mother alive, which in turn prevents her other children from being orphaned. So PMTCT is a smart investment — it has an impressive impact, and is strikingly cost-effective as well.

Led by the U.S. through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the world has made dramatic progress on PMTCT over… more »