This blog post is published in conjunction with the Child Survival Call to Action, which was convened June 14-15 by the Governments of the United States, India, and Ethiopia, and organized in close collaboration with UNICEF.
On a recent visit to northeast Bangladesh, I had the opportunity to visit rural postpartum women in their homes. My colleagues and I were undertaking site visits to a USAID program that provided integrated newborn, maternal and family planning services at the community level. After we entered the home of our first visit, we congratulated the new mother, who was holding her newborn wrapped in a blanket in her arms. We asked her how many children she had. She replied quietly, “This was my twelfth pregnancy — it is my fifth living child.” She explained that three children died as newborns, two were stillborn, and she had two miscarriages. The woman was only 32 years old. We heard similar stories from other women whom we interviewed.
The first step to ensure that a child reaches their 5th birthday starts even before they are born. USAID promotes Healthy Timing and Spacing of Pregnancy as a vital family planning intervention that helps ensure that pregnancies occur at the healthiest times in a woman’s life. Mothers and children are then more likely to survive and stay healthy.
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