Saving Mothers, Giving Life: Attainable or Aspirational?
June 20, 2012
On June 1 in Oslo, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the “Saving Mothers, Giving Life” project—an ambitious, dynamic effort by the U.S. government with a new public private partnership to drive efficiencies, spur innovation, and ensure impact in this fundamental area of global health. Maternal mortality is the ultimate health indicator, reflecting both a health system’s strength and how accessible it is to women and girls of reproductive age. If successful, “Saving Mothers” will be an important dimension of Clinton’s legacy as Secretary, lifting the lives of women, families, and communities around the world.
Yet the program’s success is far from assured. The question that inevitably arises is whether these big ideas and much-needed goals for reducing maternal mortality can be translated into building the long-term support necessary to address maternal and child health – the core of health systems in developing countries – while reformulating long-standing and sometimes difficult relationships between multiple U.S. agencies that each have a piece of the U.S. global health agenda, all at a time of shrinking U.S. foreign assistance budgets?