Letter: Reach Act would save lives

To the Editors:

As a student at Wilton High School, I’m grateful for the educational opportunities I’ve been given, especially since many kids around the world will never have the same chances to learn — or even reach their fifth birthday.

The United States has been a global leader in helping to save the lives of mothers and children from preventable causes such as pneumonia, malaria and diarrhea. Since 1990, American assistance has helped reduce preventable deaths of children worldwide by more than half. But our work cannot stop there. Every day, more than 16,000 children still die from preventable causes and 800 women still die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth.

The Reach Every Mother and Child Act (Reach Act) is bold, bipartisan legislation that would help expand proven solutions to end preventable maternal and child deaths around the world within a generation. And because the U.S. cannot do it alone, the bill would introduce new financing mechanisms to bring new investors to the table and improve the stewardship of existing taxpayer dollars.

Even though the U.S. has declared ending preventable newborn, child and maternal deaths a national priority, malnutrition accounts for 45% of deaths among children under the age of 5. This equals three million children’s lives lost each year. Additionally, nearly 300,000 women die annually due to complications during pregnancy or childbirth. By implementing the Reach Act, these numbers could decrease significantly.

This legislation offers the U.S. an unprecedented opportunity to accelerate its leadership and fulfill its promise to help end preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths.

I urge Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal to sign on to the recently reintroduced Reach Act. Investing in families today helps create a better tomorrow.
Megha Gupta
Wilton, July 27