Tremendous achievements have been made globally in decreasing the number of deaths of children under the age of five in the last 15 years. However, the degree of these advances varies greatly from region to region. In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, 1 in 9 children dies before their ﬁfth birthday — more than 15 times the average for developed regions. In Southern Asia, about 1 in 16 children dies before the age of five. Common causes of death in children, such as pneumonia, diarrhea, malnutrition and malaria, are preventable and treatable with proven child health interventions.
MCSP is a vital contributor to the global movement to end preventable child deaths. We work to protect children from diseases and to improve their access to lifesaving treatments globally and in the 25 priority USAID countries. In those countries and regions with greatest need, we are building capacity to plan, leverage resources, and scale up high-impact, cost-effective child health interventions.
We are assisting countries in setting achievable child survival targets, while establishing mechanisms for regular review and joint accountability for results. This is done by extending child health services to hard-to-reach populations and those with limited access to child health services. MCSP also encourages partner coordination and supports joint workplanning led by host governments and inclusive of civil society organizations and private sector partners. Key foci of child health work under MCSP to achieve these targets includes support provided for:
- Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (or other basic sick child treatment services) pre- or in-service training, supervision and mentoring, and data collection and use at health facilities;
- Introduction of Emergency Triage, Assessment and Treatment training, mentoring or supervision and/or data collection and use at referral health facilities;
- Integrated Community Case Management (iCCM) training, supervision, equipment, supplies and/or data collection and use by community-based health workers outside of facilities;
- Development of or change in guidelines or policies, strategic planning, health systems strengthening (e.g. supply chain or human resources strategies);
- Activities that create demand for child health services and activities or approaches which promote appropriate family practices;
- Systematic efforts to improve the quality of child health services provided at the facility or community levels and data collection on quality improvement activities (including outcome measurements); and
- Technical assistance and support to advocate for and mobilize resources available for child health services.
MCSP focuses on the continuum of care from household to hospital, building on the achievements of USAID’s predecessor Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program (MCHIP). In strengthening access to management of childhood illness (IMCI) services, MCSP steers attention to developing strong links between facility- and community-based services and the health system.
As Secretariat of the iCCM Task Force, MCSP collaborates with UNICEF, WHO, USAID, NGO representatives, and other iCCM partner organizations to improve iCCM planning, implementation and scale-up. MCSP is working to end preventable child deaths by making treatment and services available to those most at risk.
To download MCSP’s child health fact sheet, click here.