Ensuring children receive essential, lifesaving health care and nutrition services early on and throughout their development supports their long-term growth, learning, and economic opportunity.
The annual number of deaths among children and young adolescents is less than half of what it was in 1990, a remarkable global public health achievement with over 50 million children’s lives saved.1 Yet despite this progress, almost 15,000 children under age 5 still die each day primarily from conditions that can be prevented or treated with access to simple, affordable health interventions.2 Likewise, on average, in 2019, the rate of under-five deaths in the 36 countries classified as ‘fragile’ based on the World Bank definition was almost three times higher than in ‘non-fragile’ countries.3
We strive to ensure that children not only survive the first five years of life but are also able to reach their full potential throughout their life course. A healthy child is better able to grow and learn, leading to more opportunities to succeed and later provide financially for themselves and their family and contribute to their community. To advance these efforts, we are building on gains from previous USAID programs and working with local leaders to innovate and test new interventions that address some of the most intractable challenges threatening child survival. We collaborate strategically with other development sectors such as early childhood education, water, and food security programming to address child health and well-being.
Scale up access to high-quality child health interventions
MOMENTUM works with health leaders in USAID partner countries to select, adapt, and scale up evidence-based child health interventions. We mentor public health managers and health care providers to review child health data to address equity gaps and the quality of care. Throughout, we work hand in hand with local institutions and providers to improve technical and managerial capacity to deliver and sustain child health interventions as part of each country’s Journey to Self-Reliance. We also strengthen collaboration between public and private health sectors to deliver comprehensive child health care, understanding that caretakers often first consult private retail drug shops or providers for treatment for their ill children.
Overcome entrenched obstacles to routine immunization
Immunization is one of the most effective public health interventions, saving an estimated 2 to 3 million children per year.4 However, in the past 10 years, routine immunization coverage rates among children under age five have declined or stagnated globally.5 MOMENTUM provides technical assistance to partner countries and local organizations to adopt and institutionalize improved routine immunization for vulnerable children. We also identify barriers preventing children from being fully immunized. We are working with local and global technical experts to develop innovative approaches to address these barriers, such as opportunities to integrate routine immunization with other services and methods to scale up mobile outreach.
Increase the quality and reach of community child health interventions
Many children never reach health facilities for lifesaving preventive or emergency care due to distance, cost, and other factors. MOMENTUM works with local leaders and health providers, and in line with each country’s national guidelines, to deliver frontline care and prevention services to children in their homes and communities. We also work with national planners to increase emergency community-level child survival interventions in rural and underserved areas, including emergency treatment for children with severe malaria and pneumonia. These services buy critical time and provide lifesaving support to severely ill children until they can reach a health facility for further treatment.
Expand the knowledge base to help children reach their full potential
MOMENTUM provides global technical leadership and coordination on child health, including advancing the policy dialogue and evidence base to improve health outcomes. We help convene local leaders and experts and share best practices for child health within and across USAID partner countries. In addition, we test and adapt state-of-the-art approaches for child survival in fragile settings, which require unique adaptations to be successful in rapidly changing and post-conflict environments.
- United Nations Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UNIGME), Levels and Trends in Child Mortality: Report 2019, https://www.unicef.org/media/60561/file/UN-IGME-child-mortality-report-2019.pdf.
- UNIGME, Levels and Trends in Child Mortality: Report 2020′ https://www.unicef.org/media/79371/file/UN-IGME-child-mortality-report-2020.pdf.
- UNIGME, ‘Levels & Trends in Child Mortality’
- World Health Organization, “Immunization” (Dec. 5, 2019), https://www.who.int/news-room/facts-in-pictures/detail/immunization#
- UNICEF, “Immunization” (July 2020), https://data.unicef.org/topic/child-health/immunization/