By spending less than $5 per person on essential health care services such as contraception, medication for serious illnesses and nutritional supplements, millions of maternal and child lives could be saved every year, according to a new analysis led by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
The findings, published April 9 in The Lancet, suggest it is possible to save many lives by broadly expanding basic services in the 74 low- and middle-income countries where more than 95 percent of the world’s maternal and child deaths occur annually.
In 2015, nearly six million children under the age of 5 died as did more than 300,000 women from pregnancy-related causes across the globe. These numbers fall short of the Millennium Development Goals for reducing maternal and child mortality by 2015 that world leaders committed to back in September of 2000. The goals called for a two-thirds reduction in child mortality from 1990 levels and a three-quarters reduction in maternal mortality from 1990 levels.
“Many of these deaths could be prevented if high-impact and affordable solutions reached the populations that needed them most,” says study leader Dr. Robert Black, a professor in the department of international health at the Bloomberg School. “Our analysis shows that expanding access to care to keep more mothers and children alive and healthy is feasible and a highly cost-effective investment.”