A mother begins to shape her child’s future from the moment she is carrying a child in her womb. Her health will nourish her child’s development. It will also determine her child’s chance of survival through the first five years of life, which are considered the most precarious years. Globally, the leading obstacles in child survival include preterm birth, pneumonia, diarrhea, and malaria, most of which are preventable causes. These challenges lead to 6.6 million deaths in children under 5 each year.

Maternal survival and health is a paramount factor in her child’s health and well-being. Maternal mortality remains high at 800 deaths per day due to preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. 99% of these deaths occur in developing countries and resource-low settings.

While maternal and child mortality rates are decreasing, they remain unacceptably high and global medicine students are studying the tools and resources needed to combat maternal and child disease and mortality. Such solutions include micronutrient supplementation to treat diarrhea and malnutrition; family planning to reduce the burden of infectious diseases; safe and clean delivery; and prevention and treatment of obstetric and newborn complications. The ongoing success of these methods is evidenced through global health organization actions.

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