BRAC Announces $700 Million Commitment to Help End Maternal and Child Mortality

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Today at the United Nations Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Summit Special Event on the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health, BRAC founder and chairperson Sir Fazle Hasan Abed pledged to mobilize $700 million over the next five years to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals of reducing child and maternal mortality and saving the lives of millions of the worlds most vulnerable.

Today at the United Nations Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Summit Special Event on the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health, BRAC founder and chairperson Sir Fazle Hasan Abed pledged to mobilize $700 million over the next five years to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals of reducing child and maternal mortality and saving the lives of millions of the worlds most vulnerable in Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Southern Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Haiti.

“Over the last few years, BRAC’s health program in Bangladesh has generated significant reductions in maternal and neonatal mortality,” said Sir Fazle. BRAC has been providing support to pregnant women in rural Bangladesh and more recently in urban Bangladesh with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. “We want to improve women’s and children’s health not only to reach the MDGs by 2015 but to exceed them,” said Sir Fazle.

Every year, 8 million children die preventable deaths – 3.2 million die less than a month after they are born – and 500,000 women die in childbirth in the world’s poorest countries. The UN’s latest figures demonstrate progress is being made: the number of child deaths per day has declined to 22,000 - 12,000 fewer per day than in 1990. Nonetheless, only 9 of 64 countries with the highest mortality of children under 5 are on track to meet their goals for reducing child deaths by 2015.

Sir Fazle said, “Guided by the conviction that all lives have equal value, we must do all we can to stop the unnecessary deaths of mothers and babies. We can harness the advances in science and technology to save lives – not just in rich countries – but everywhere.”

ABOUT BRAC (formerly Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee)
BRAC, the largest non-profit in the developing world, was launched in Bangladesh in 1972 and currently touches the lives of more than 138 million people through its programs addressing poverty including micro-loans, education, health services, self-employment opportunities and human rights education. BRAC has provided $6.7 billion in micro-loans to nearly eight million borrowers, mostly women, and created 9 million self-employment opportunities. BRAC’s 84,000 community health promoters have provided basic health services to nearly 100 million people. Currently, BRAC has programs in Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Haiti, Liberia, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Southern Sudan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Uganda. For more information, please visit http://www.bracusa.org.

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Michelle Chaplin
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