Maternal and Child Health
More than 10 million children die every year from easily preventable causes such as diarrhea, pneumonia, and malaria. More than 500,000 women die every year from pregnancy and childbirth-related complications, and an additional 15 to 20 million women suffer debilitating consequences of pregnancy. CHAI works to achieve large-scale and demonstrable reductions in mortality rates of young children and pregnant women across many of our programs.
In the past decade, remarkable advances have been made in treating and preventing malaria. Better medicines and long-lasting bed nets have been developed. Donor funding for malaria control has dramatically increased from $153 million in 2000 to over $1 billion in 2010. Indeed, the focus of many countries has recently shifted from malaria control to malaria elimination. Not surprisingly, this rapid infusion of new technology, increased funding, and policy reform has created a new set of challenges for the governments of malaria endemic countries. CHAI works in partnership with governments to address these challenges, creating evidence-based solutions tailor-made to each unique situation.
In April 2005, President Clinton launched CHAI’s Global Pediatric Program in 12 countries to confront the terrible fact that almost no children with HIV/AIDS were on treatment in the developing world. CHAI was a pioneer in rallying the global community to address this problem. At the time, conventional wisdom argued that it was too costly and too complex to diagnose, treat, and prevent HIV/AIDS in children. In just a few short years, we have helped to shatter that myth. Today, the percentage of HIV-positive children on AIDS treatment is nearly equivalent to that of adults.
Eliminating Mother to Child Transmission
In September 2008, CHAI launched a program to dramatically increase global efforts to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) in six countries. Building on our work to scale up HIV testing and treatment for children, CHAI’s PMTCT program takes a comprehensive approach to stopping new pediatric infections. We support mothers and babies “across the cascade,” meaning from pregnancy and delivery through breastfeeding and into long-term care for HIV-positive mothers and children. Unlike many PMTCT efforts that focus only on one part of the cascade, CHAI’s work is demonstrating that a comprehensive, integrated system of care will be critical to reaching the ultimate goal of eliminating new pediatric HIV infections.
Vaccines are among the best buys in global health. They are as close to a magic bullet as we have in preventing infectious diseases. Without vaccines, twice as many children around the world would die each year from diseases such as smallpox, polio, measles, and tetanus. Recently, two new vaccines have been developed with the potential to save the lives of an additional one million children annually from diarrheal diseases and pneumonia. Yet we still lack effective vaccines for some of the world’s leading infectious killers such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. This might change rapidly, however, over the next decade. Bill Gates, whose foundation has spent billions of dollars on vaccine research, predicts that “by the end of the decade, five or six new vaccines will be available to all countries at prices they can afford,” preventing an additional 10 million deaths by 2020.