USAID Impact Photo Credit: USAID and Partners

Archives for Global Partnerships

Video of the Week: Animating M-PESA

Public-private partnerships are a critical way that USAID is doing business differently and maximizing our impact.  USAID is a global leader in building public-private partnerships for development. In the past eleven years, USAID partnered with over 3,000 private sector entities to build over 1,600 alliances leveraging more than $19 billion in combined public and private resources. Across this portfolio, USAID on average leveraged $4 for every $1 of USAID funding.

And it’s more than just dollars leveraged, private sector partners provide expertise, technologies and innovations which, when combined with USAID’s technical expertise and in-country knowledge, can result in high-impact development projects that can be sustained long after public funding ends.

This month we are highlighting innovative public-private partnerships and this 6-minute animation tells the story of how M-PESA, the popular mobile money transfer program, came to be in Kenya. It’s narrated by Michael Joseph, the managing director of mobile money at Vodafone and the program’s founder. The animation was produced as part of a series of online courses designed and delivered by the USAID Mobile Solutions Team, QED, and TechChange, a DC based organization that specializes in online training for international development.

Charley Johnson is a former Presidential Management Fellow with the USAID Mobile Solutions Team. Nick Martin is Founder and President of TechChange.

The Growing Movement to End Preventable Child Deaths

Yesterday at an event hosted by AEI and the Center for American Progress, USAID Administrator Raj Shah spoke about President Obama’s vision to end extreme poverty through innovation and partnership. His remarks mentioned an important corollary goal – the end of preventable child deaths. The first audience question commended the visionary Child Survival Call to Action held in Washington last year and asked about progress at country-level. Administrator Shah responded that the movement to end preventable child deaths is nothing short of extraordinary.

Administrator Raj Shah earlier this month in India at their Child Survival Summit. Photo Credit: USAID/India

Since the Call to Action, 172 countries have now signed A Promise Renewed pledge to accelerate declines in child deaths.  More than 400 civil society and faith-based organizations as well as over 2,000 individuals have also pledged support. Each signature represents a renewed commitment to give every child the best possible start in life.  Governments are leading the effort to convene policymakers, technical experts, and development partners in a concerted effort to scale-up high-impact strategies for maternal, newborn and child survival. Below are a few highlights of countries leading and how USAID is supporting this important work.
Bangladesh

USAID and other donors are supporting the Ministry of Health to develop an action plan to end preventable child deaths in Bangladesh, particularly at district level.  This plan will identify priority actions and benchmarks to reach the goal of no more than 20 deaths/1,000 live births by 2035, or earlier.  A technical advisory group has been convened to discuss evidence-based interventions that can be deployed in Bangladesh to bend the curve. This includes programs to address Pneumoccocal and Rotavirus vaccines, corticosteroids, clean cord care, child drowning and Kangaroo Mother Care, among others.  Given the fact that 60% of child deaths in Bangladesh occur within in the first 28 days of life, there is a huge need for post-natal monitoring to reduce stubborn neonatal mortality rates.

Burma

Building upon the Child Survival Call to Action, USAID recently launched a public private partnership: Survive and Thrive. This partnership will expand the coverage of quality and high impact maternal newborn services starting with essential newborn care, and link pediatricians, midwives, and obstetricians from American professional associations to peer associations in Burma to build capacity in service delivery. Survive and Thrive will partner with civil society and professional and educational institutions, work within the Ministry of Health’s health system, support the programs of the 3MDG Fund, and maximize synergy with community-based programs of existing partners.

Ethiopia

At the African Leadership on Child Survival meeting hosted by the Government of Ethiopia earlier this year, the consensus reached by over twenty African countries present was both significant and historic. The participating countries declared, in a consensus statement, that they are committed to developing and implementing country-led roadmaps that integrate ongoing efforts to accelerate progress to end preventable deaths among children by 2035, and reduce the mortality rate to below 20 per 1,000 live births in all African nations. Recently, Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health (MOH) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Namibia. Officials from Namibia are undertaking a study tour to review Ethiopia’s health extension program.

India

At India’s recent Call to Action, the Government of India launched the Reproductive Maternal Neonatal Child Health Adolescent health strategy (RMNCH+A), which serves as a roadmap for the States. India also released several guidance documents including implementation of newborn care as well as management of pneumonia and diarrhea. A National Child Survival Scorecard was showcased, and States were encouraged to develop their own scorecards and to monitor progress. USAID’s Maternal and Child Health Integrated Project (“MCHIP”) supported the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in organizing the recent India National Call to Action for Child Survival and Development, and USAID will continue to provide support in establishing quick response teams for Indian states with the highest child mortality that have committed to accelerating their efforts for child survival.

Indonesia

USAID supported a national newborn conference in Jakarta from Feb 26-March 1. The conference included international experts from India and the U.S. as well as representatives from the Indonesia’s Ministry of Health, key professional associations, academia, and district and provincial health leaders. This was the first such event in Indonesia focusing on newborn survival. Responding to Indonesia’s commitment to A Promise Renewed and the MOH’s call to accelerate progress toward the MDGs, this conference addresses one of the key indicators slowing achievement of MDG goal 4. DHS data from 2012 is now available and demonstrates no progress in newborn mortality since 2007. The rate remains at 19/1000 live births. Partners are committed to reducing this rate by 25% by 2017, in partnership with USAID, UNICEF and WHO, and an exceptionally strong collaborative relationship with the Ministry of Health.

Liberia

The Ministry of Health in Liberia is sharpening its child survival plan using evidence and aligning donors to support the plan.  There is great donor support and commitment to implementing the national plan through the alignment of programs. A launch for A Promise Renewed is being planned by the Government of Liberia. A steering committee led by the Government of Liberia and comprised of representatives from NGOs, house of representatives, representatives from different Ministries has been established and meets regularly to plan the launch event.  An expected key outcome of the launch is greater mobilization of support and resources at the counties, civil society organizations and community leaders around A Promise Renewed.

For more information about A Promise Renewed, please visit: apromiserenewed.org.

USAID and CISCO to Establish Networking Academies in Burma

Last week in Burma, USAID hosted a technology delegation with the top American companies in the industry, including Cisco, Intel, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard and Google. With extremely low Internet and mobile coverage in-country and the government’s determination to create a more transparent and efficient governance, we were on the hunt for partnership opportunities to make a speedy transition.

Burma’s Minister of Communications, Information Technology called the delegation the ‘ICT Dream Team’ and outlined specific ways in which we could be helpful. He told us how pleased he was that these companies were committed to both the economic and social development of their country. Too often others seemed to only care about the former.

Maura O’Neill, Chief Innovation Officer,l at 2013 Mobile World Congress. Photo credit: Visa

We knew that in order for everyone in the country to benefit from a digital economy and for the government to develop the know-how to navigate the technology, Internet was key. Fortunately the companies involved in the tech delegation have experience developing and rolling out projects in digital literacy and business skill training in other countries on a massive scale. One of those companies is Cisco.

USAID has a long history with Cisco on public-private partnerships and they too had recently established operations in-country. Together, we have successfully developed and managed alliances in more than 70 countries. These partnerships range from focused projects where USAID and Cisco address development needs in one community by providing Information and Communication Technology (ICT) solutions, to large multi-partner alliances that have both broad and deep impact across a region or country, with the common goal of enabling human capacity-building and workforce development.

Drawing upon this established global partnership, Cisco committed to working with USAID to establish two Networking Academies in Burma within the next several months. Cisco Networking Academies are the flagship of Cisco’s social investment programs worldwide. They have established over 10,000 Networking Academies in 165 countries, helping individuals build ICT skills and prepare for industry-recognized certifications and entry-level ICT careers in virtually every type of industry. Over the next four to six weeks, Cisco will identify the location and donate lab equipment to support the launch of the Networking Academies.

This is just the beginning. USAID has long-standing relationships with the major global technology companies with track record of advancing development outcomes while aligning with core business interests.  The technology companies bring deep expertise, leading-edge technology products and platforms, and extensive experience in leveraging their core business and technology capabilities to advance outcomes ranging from strengthening governance and transparency, advancing education and fostering entrepreneurship and economic growth.

We know that broad-based economic growth is essential to long-term development. That is why USAID has adopted a model for development that seeks to achieve development goals more sustainably and at scale through high-impact and innovative partnerships.  With this in mind, we are building public private partnerships with U.S. businesses, university networks and civil society, linking them to development projects and encouraging the Burmese people to invest in their own development. Transition must come from within and USAID is committed to working alongside the people of Burma in building a path to prosperity.

USAID wins ‘Best Government Policy for Mobile Development’ Award

There is a good chance you are reading this blog on your mobile device.  If you are in a developing country, the chances are even greater. That’s because across the developing world, people are leapfrogging the need for computers and are accessing the Internet straight from their more affordable smart phone or tablet.  In fact, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) recently reported that twice as many people access the Internet through a mobile device than through a fixed line.

USAID harnesses the power of mobile phones to achieve results Credit: USAID

But it doesn’t end there.  The near ubiquity of mobiles in the developing world – on pace to soon surpass population numbers – has allowed citizens to engage in formal economies and tap into global networks in a manner that was unheard of just a few years ago.  Even the most basic mobile phones are becoming important channels for people to conduct financial transactions and access key information on healthcare, education, and entrepreneurial opportunities.

The mobile phone will indeed transform development outcomes. For this reason, we were the first bilateral development agency to launch a dedicated Mobile Solutions team, as part of our Office of Innovation and Development Alliances.  We created it to help us do business better and expand opportunities for individuals, families and communities around the world.  Our efforts began both organically and deliberately.  Across USAID’s Bureaus and Missions, mobiles were springing up. We were inspired by our pioneering colleagues who saw a need, an opportunity, and seized the moment.

After the Haiti earthquake in 2010, when most people’s savings lay buried under mountains of rubble, Priya Jaisinghani and I visited and imagined how to get a whole new, mobile-based financial system up and running as quickly as possible.  Kay McGowan saw an opportunity to reduce corruption in Afghanistan by allowing more police officers and government employees to be paid via their phones. Christopher Burns saw the huge gender gap in mobile phone ownership among the world’s poor and initiated conversations with the mobile operators’ association, GSMA, and the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women to ensure women weren’t left behind in the mobile revolution.

Sandhya Rao and Richard Greene knew that too many mothers and children still were dying during childbirth.  Working with Johnson & Johnson, they conceived a way for pregnant or new mothers in the developing world to receive simple health text and voice messages.  Understanding that many poor farmers own a phone, Judy Payne realized this meant that helpful information like market pricing on inputs and commodities, delivered via mobile, could help raise their incomes.

From the beginning, we designed for global scale, realizing that these collective pieces had the power to be truly transformational.  With mobile phone ownership exploding in the developing world, we knew we had the opportunity to rethink how we use mobile technology to achieve faster, cheaper and more sustainable development results.

Today, the Mobile Solutions team is tackling policy and regulatory issues, addressing access and affordability, and boasts an internal mobile enthusiast group and is busy recruiting partners from the private and donor sectors.  That is why I’m incredibly proud to announce that today USAID received the ‘Best Government Policy for Mobile Development’ award at GSMA’s Mobile World Congress 2013.

This award not only recognizes the critical global leadership role USAID is playing in this arena, it emphasizes the important role mobile phones play in international development.  We see it as a symbol to push new boundaries and dedicate ourselves to scale some of our current initiatives, including:

  • The Better Than Cash Alliance, launched in September 2012, is accelerating the move towards electronic payments, particularly mobile, in order to enhance efficiency, accountability and transparency.  The governments of the Philippines, Afghanistan, Kenya, Peru and Colombia have made public commitments to achieving this shift.  Internally, USAID has led the U.S. government by issuing an agency-wide order to move away from the use of cash and by working with our implementing partners to drive millions of dollars toward mobile payments.
  • To broaden mobile access, USAID has strengthened its GSMA mWomen partnership to close the mobile phone gender gap in the developing world.  We have helped build the business case for mobile network operators to design products and services that meet the needs of women and their families.   And we’re encouraged by the work Asiacell has done in Iraq, launching a new product line designed for women that includes the freedom to choose off-peak hours, a free service to block any number from calling or texting, and discounts on female-focused value added services.  In less than 9 months, 1.2 million new female subscribers joined the service, an increase of 25% over the total female subscriber base.
  • We’ve even held a Design Challenge with GSMA, AusAID and the Qtel Group, to make the smartphone user experience more intuitive for technically illiterate populations, particularly women. Given the pace of smartphone growth in the developing world, we’re hoping to get ahead of the curve by encouraging the mobile industry to design more compelling interfaces that address fundamental access issues.  The winners of this challenge were announced today.
  • The Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA) has ramped up since its launch in 2011.  Our work with private and public sector partners to deliver timely health messages via mobile phones to expectant and new mothers has sparked quick adoption in Bangladesh and South Africa.  Over 140,000 women have been reached, with a target of over two million mothers in Bangladesh alone by 2015.  To date, mHealth providers in 111 organizations have applied to download MAMA adaptable messages in 49 countries.

These are just a few examples of the incredible work USAID and our partners are doing to advance mobile policy, and a true testament that we remain on the cutting edge of development.  As we continue to utilize technology to maximize our impact, we invite public and private partners to join us in tackling the global issues that affect us all.

The Global Movement of Electronic Payments at the World Economic Forum

Originally appeared on The Better than Cash Alliance Blog

At the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, this morning, the Better Than Cash Alliance hosted a roundtable discussion with Juan Jiménez Mayor, Prime Minister, Republic of Peru, Dr. Mauricio Cárdenas, Minister of Finance, Republic of Colombia, Florencio B. Abad, Secretary of Budget and Management, Republic of the Philippines, sponsored by Citi and Visa Inc.

Florencio B. Abad, Secretary of Budget and Management, Republic of the Philippines, Dr. Mauricio Cárdenas, Minister of Finance, Republic of Colombia and Juan Jiménez Mayor, Prime Minister, Republic of Peru speak about the transition from cash to electronic payments. Photo Credit: Better than Cash Alliance

The room was full of over 50 thought leaders from the government, banking, information technology, NGO, agriculture and consumer industries discussing the exciting global movement to shift the world away from cash to electronic payments.

The rich roundtable discussion led by The Economist’s Economics Editor, Zanny Minton Beddoes discussed how the transition from cash to electronic payments has the ability to achieve shared goals in emerging markets of increasing transparency and combating corruption, reducing costs and accelerating financial inclusion as well as stimulating long-term economic growth.

“Electronic payments are a powerful tool in development,” said Prime Minister Mayor. With Florencio B. Abad, Secretary of Budget and Management, Republic of the Philippines adding that “digitization of government promotes transparency.”

Insightful thoughts about the benefits and challenges of making this transition were shared by Bill Sheedy, Group President, Americas, Visa Inc., Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director, United Nations World Food Programme, Neal Keny-Guyer, Chief Executive Officer, Mercy Corps, Yawar Shah, Chairman of the Board of Directors, SWIFT and Marc Bichler, Executive Director of UNCDF  and many others.

In response to an audience question about the role of governments in accelerating the pace of change, Minister Dr. Mauricio Cárdenas, Minister of Finance and Public Credit, Republic of Colombia said, “Sometimes governments get in the way,” and shared Colombia’s plan to reduce transaction taxes and promote smart regulation to achieve their vision.

We know that partnerships are critical to our success. Together, with our founding organizations, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Citi, Ford Foundation, Omidyar Network, UNCDF, USAID and Visa Inc., we are pleased to welcome even more partners to the Alliance that are dedicated to making this transition a reality.

Our newest partner is the government of Afghanistan who will join the governments of Colombia, Kenya, Peru and the Philippines in a commitment to transition from cash to electronic payments. We hope many of our colleagues from the World Economic Forum will join us too.

Sharing the mission of the Better Than Cash Alliance with many of the attendees at the World Economic Forum has created even more momentum behind the movement to transition to electronic payments. With 2.5 billion adults—more than a third of the world’s population—excluded from the formal financial sector, we are determined to quickly move this transition forward making real progress in the year ahead.

FrontLines Year in Review: Aligning the Goals of Development and Business

Dr. Maura O'Neill is the chief innovation officer and senior counselor to the administrator at USAID.

This is part of our FrontLines Year in Review series. This originally appeared in FrontLines March/April 2012 issue.

In the five decades since President John F. Kennedy asked Congress to create the U.S. Agency for International Development, the development landscape has changed tremendously. One of the most powerful changes is the growing role of the private sector.

The statistics speak for themselves: official development assistance has gone from being 70 percent of resource flows to the developing world in the 1960s to less than 13 percent today. Private sources of capital—from remittances and foreign direct investment to foundation grant-making—have outpaced official development assistance. This shift is transforming not only how development is funded, but how it is being done.

To be effective, development agencies must adapt to this trend and take steps to make private-sector partnerships a key part of their work. Crafting effective public-private partnerships is no longer a luxury, but a necessity.

As USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah has said, “If we are going to encourage truly sustainable, broad-based economic growth in developing countries, we have to do a far better job of working with private firms—be they domestic or foreign, established or entrepreneurial.”

USAID recognized this need early on. In 2001, the Agency established the Global Development Alliance program and pioneered a structured approach to public-private development partnerships. With over 1,000 partnerships under its belt, USAID is recognized as a global leader by its peers in the development donor community as well as by private sector organizations. We are proud of this legacy but we know there is still work that needs to be done if we are going to seize the full potential impact these partnerships can have in international development.

Strategy not Philanthropy

How the business community thinks about development is evolving. As experts like Jane Nelson at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and Michael Porter at the Harvard Business School point out, successful businesses increasingly consider development as a core strategy issue rather a matter of corporate philanthropy.

At a forum USAID hosted in December 2011, three Fortune 500 business leaders—Cargill CEO Greg Page, Walter Bell of Swiss Re, and former Merck Chairman and CEO Richard Clark—agreed that development was a core business issue for them. Companies and business leaders like these have a stake in development for a range of reasons such as broadening their access to markets and creating secure, stable, and sustainable supply chains. And what the development community provides is a combination of deep technical expertise, ground knowledge, access, and credibility.

For example, in one recent partnership, USAID is partnering with PepsiCo to help smallholder chickpea farmers increase their yield, which PepsiCo will turn into a high-energy paste that will be used by the World Food Program as well as sold commercially by Pepsi. This partnership is about addressing overlapping interests and leveraging expertise that are core to each of our organizations.

As the business world changes how it thinks about integrating development into its strategies, those of us in the development community also need to adapt how we think about integrating the business world into our strategies.

As Administrator Shah has said, “We must partner with the private sector much more deeply from the start, instead of treating companies as just another funding source for our development work.” [continued]

Read the rest of the article in FrontLines.

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Boosting Women’s Entrepreneurship Via Mobile Money

This post originally appeared on Devex Impact.  It has also appeared in the Huffington Post and the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women.

This guest column was authored by Cherie Blair, founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, and Maura O’Neill, USAID’s chief innovation officer. It is published here as part of Devex Impact, a global initiative of USAID and Devex that focuses on the intersection of business and global development and connects companies, organizations and professionals to the practical information they need to make an impact.

For Marion, the challenge of starting her own business was not lack of initiative — she had plenty — but rather dearth of startup capital. At 20-years old, Marion dropped out of school because she didn’t have sufficient funds for school fees. In Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where she lives, this is a common trend for many women and girls, one that stretches across sub-Saharan Africa and far beyond. But Marion was undeterred.

Thanks to her friend’s suggestion, Marion latched onto an idea of selling prepaid mobile airtime to financially support her parents and four siblings with whom she lives. She started working at a small restaurant as a server, in order to save enough money to break into the business. Marion saved and saved, and began to sell airtime in bits and pieces. Yet by the time she turned 22 and made the decision to do it full-time, she was 70,000 Tanzanian shillings ($43) short of the 100,000 TZS ($62) required to finance the initial capital. Marion had nowhere to turn to make up the difference. And now this shortage of cash is keeping her from pursuing what should be a tangible dream — to become an entrepreneur and move into her own home.

A woman sells prepaid mobile phone airtime credits. Photo Credit: Devex.

Fortunately, new opportunities that will address Marion’s challenges are emerging.

Mobile technology continues to be an enormous growth industry in developing countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, where approximately 3.5 million jobs can be attributed to the mobile industry, according to GSMA. With the surge in mobile connections around the world, there is rightly a great deal of interest in using the technology to maximize development outcomes. This includes the delivery of key information and health services, the use of mobile money for those who are unbanked, and the ability to establish social and business networks without having to travel great distances. For women like Marion, this is an enticing pairing of potential long-term employment and enhanced livelihood.

Despite the gains the mobile telecommunications industry has had nationally, there continues to be significant gaps in how much individuals benefit economically from mobile services and applications. This includes the extent to which women have been able to participate in the retail channels of mobile network operators, beyond the sale of top-up cards and accessories that fetch little profit. These retail chains are not only where basic mobile necessities such as airtime and SIM cards are sold and marketed, but they also serve as the frontlines of the rapidly growing mobile financial services industry. This ballooning sector includes mobile payments and savings, insurance purchases and conditional cash transfers, services that are traditionally unavailable for the unbanked — particularly women. The business of selling mobile products and services can be an important income stream but, in most markets, women are not participating on par with their male counterparts.

This leaves Marion and women like her at a distinct and, frankly, unnecessary disadvantage.

The U.S. Agency for International Development and Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, in partnership with leading mobile operator Millicom, or Tigo, have joined forces for an innovative project to correct this trend and maximize mobile financial service opportunities for women entrepreneurs and their communities throughout Tanzania, Rwanda and Ghana. This public-private partnership will showcase a sustainable and scalable approach to increasing the number of women entrepreneurs working as mobile money agents in the retail networks of mobile operators…(continued)

Read the rest of this post on Devex Impact.

Follow Cherie Blair and Maura O’Neill on Twitter.

Video: Connecting the Private Sector to Global Development

Last week, USAID’s Development Credit Authority and the USAID Uganda Mission released a new video that will make you rethink development. Take a look at how effective private sector partnerships can positively impact people’s lives

Live @ UNGA – Day Three

To see the online conversation at UNGA, visit USAID’s Storify Feed

Day three at UNGA included two marquee events spotlighting progress to date on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition.  We also announced a new partnership to expand access to contraception for 27 million women and girls in low-income countries.

With only 15 months until the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) deadline, USAID partnered on an event with the UK Department for International Development for a second year to draw attention to the importance of the global community working together to reach the MDG targets by 2015.  The event brought to life the enormous development advancements made on the way to achieving the MDGs and featured innovators from across the development community sharing transformative programs and policies.  The world has met two MDG targets ahead of the 2015 deadline – poverty has been cut by 50 percent globally and the proportion of people with no safe drinking water has been cut in half.

That afternoon, Administrator Shah co-hosted with other G8 members the New Alliance: Progress and the Way Forward event.  President Obama announced the New Alliance for Food Security & Nutrition earlier this year, in which G8 nations, African partner countries and private sector partners aim to help lift 50 million people in sub-Saharan Africa out of poverty in the next 10 years by supporting agricultural development. Initially launched in Ethiopia, Ghana, and Tanzania, at the event, representatives from the New Alliance, G8 countries and the private sector announced the expansion to other African countries, including Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, and Mozambique.

Finally, Administrator Shah took part in the UN Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children. Prior to the meeting, Dr. Shah joined the Commission Co-Chairs, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg of Norway and President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria, alongside former President Bill Clinton, to launch a new partnership to make a safe, effective, long-acting, reversible method of contraception available to more than 27 million women in the world’s poorest nations. Under the agreement, Bayer is reducing by more than half the current 18 USD price of its long-acting, reversible method of contraception, Jadelle, in return for a commitment to assure funding for at least 27 million contraceptive devices over the next six years.  Dr. Shah stated, “The US Agency for International Development is proud to have funded the development of this life-saving product. Today is a major step forward to making this product more accessible to millions of women, empowering them with the ability to make decisions about their health and family.”

As always, follow us live on Twitter to keep up with the latest developments!

Working Together to Save Moms & Kids in Afghanistan

A decade ago, Afghanistan’s health system collapsed, leaving crumbling and neglected infrastructure, widespread prevalence of malnutrition, infectious disease, and some of the highest maternal mortality rates the world had ever seen. Over the last decade, the Ministry of Public Health, in a strong partnership with the international community, has made major progress in improving the health of Afghan mothers and children. National programs to improve the quality of, and increase access to, basic health services and essential hospital services, along with programs to increase the number of trained female providers including midwives, and improved community-based healthcare, contributed to these significant achievements.

In Afghanistan, USAID is working with the Government to build capacity in its Ministry of Health, among midwives, and in local hospitals, and have helped to increase health coverage from eight percent to over 60 percent of the people over ten years.  This progress has helped the country realize an incredible drop in infant, child and maternal mortality rates, and the global community move the dial on Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5.

Watch Dr. Suraya Dalil, Minister of Public Health in Afghanistan, talk about this incredible milestone.

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