Child and maternal mortality numbers both have dropped nearly 50 percent since 1990, but every day, more than 18,000 children under the age of 5 die from mostly preventable causes and nearly 800 women die from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth.

The good news is that we have the tools – the vaccines, supplies, knowledge, and methods – to stop most of these deaths.  The world’s challenge and responsibility is getting solutions to the people who need them most.

In 2010, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched the Every Woman Every Child movement to rally and coordinate global action to save the lives of 16 million women and children by 2015. The United Nations Foundation answered this call to action by committing, with partners, $400 million over five years to improve women’s and children’s health.  To date, our work has been more than on pace: By the end of this year, we will have disbursed approximately $250 million to support maternal, newborn, and children’s health programs.

Here are a few of the ways the UN Foundation is working with partners to save lives.

Expanding Access to Lifesaving Vaccines

(Photo credit: Stuart Ramson/Insider Images for UN Foundation)

Globally, nearly one in five children lack access to the vaccines that protect them from deadly diseases like pneumonia, measles, polio, and rotavirus.  Our Shot@Life campaign has created a community of nearly 200,000 global vaccine advocates, and we’ve supported measles prevention in nearly 60 countries through the Measles & Rubella Initiative.

Protecting Families from Malaria

(Photo credit: Stuart Ramson/Insider Images for UN Foundation)

Every 60 seconds, a child in Africa dies of malaria.  Our Nothing But Nets campaign has provided more than 7 million anti-malaria bed nets to families in more than 25 African countries.  Additionally, the UN Foundation provides support to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria – a leading organization in the fight against malaria.

Promoting the Health and Education of Adolescent Girls

(Photo credit: Stuart Ramson/Insider Images for UN Foundation)

In many places around the world, girls don’t have the chance to go to school or see a doctor.  The UN Foundation supports the health and education of adolescent girls through our Girl Up campaign and through a consortium of UN and other partners in four countries.

Strengthening Maternal Health through Mobile Phones

(Photo credit: Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action)

While many communities don’t have health clinics close by, at least 1 billion women in low- and middle-income countries own mobile phones. The Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA), launched in 2011 by USAID, Johnson & Johnson, BabyCenter, the mHealth Alliance, and the UN Foundation, uses mobile phones to provide vital health information directly to new and expectant mothers. MAMA mobile messages currently reach 600,000 mothers and families and are used by more than 235 organizations in almost 60 countries.

Improving Health through Clean Cookstoves

(Photo credit: Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves)

A recent study estimates that household air pollution from cooking with solid fuels kills 4 million people annually. Women and children are hit hardest. The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, a public-private partnership led by the UN Foundation, is working to create market-based solutions that will allow 100 million homes to adopt clean and efficient stoves and fuels by 2020.

Expanding Access to Voluntary Family Planning 

(Photo credit: UNICEF Noorani)

Worldwide, 222 million women want, but don’t have, access to voluntary family planning services. Through the advocacy efforts of the Universal Access Project, the UN Foundation has helped spearhead a 30 percent increase in U.S. funding for international reproductive health and family planning over the past five years.  And over the last year, the UN Foundation has worked with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the UK Department for International Development and UNFPA to build and host the Family Planning 2020 initiative, which aims to provide an additional 120 million women and girls in the world’s poorest countries with access to voluntary contraceptive information, services, and supplies by 2020.