With Help of Private Industry, USAID Review Finds $2.9 Billion for Maternal, Child Health

By Ariana Eunjung Cha

Faced with the daunting task of starting an ambitious program in global child and maternal health during a depressed funding climate in Washington, Rajiv Shah knew just where to turn for advice: private industry.

In an unusual move last year, Shah, head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, convened an external panel that included corporate executives and millionaire philanthropists to review every dollar the agency spent and hunt for inefficiencies.

On Wednesday, Shah plans to announce the results of that effort: The group found $2.9 billion — or nearly 15 percent of the agency’s $20 billion annual budget — that could be “realigned” to child and maternal health over the next three years. He said the money will help save 500,000 lives.

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