Overview

World Vision knows that every child is a precious gift from God, and we believe all moms and their babies deserve to have the basic information, medical support, and care to ensure safe deliveries and protection from preventable diseases.

Imagine a world in which one of the most dangerous things a woman can do is get pregnant. That same world is equally dangerous for her young children, who are vulnerable to a host of preventable diseases that can take their lives — provided they survive their birth.

Though progress is being made, children born into poverty are almost twice as likely to die before the age of 5. In fact, every year, nearly 6 million children around the world die before they reach their fifth birthday. And nearly half of them don’t live beyond their first four weeks.

Most of these deaths are caused by complications during pregnancy and childbirth, malnutrition, pneumonia, diarrhea, and malaria. While these factors are almost always preventable and treatable, in the developing world they can be a death sentence. World Vision is determined — with your help — to put a stop to these needless tragedies. We want mothers and children to survive, but we dare to want even more. We want them to thrive. 

We know what works, and we’ve built a strong foundation for expanding our efforts to provide life-saving health information, training, and care for families in some of the world’s poorest and most remote areas. We train thousands of volunteers as frontline care providers — right in these villages — to deliver the often simple solutions that help mothers and children not just survive, but thrive.

God cares for every last mother, just as He cares for every last child. Together, let’s restore the joys of motherhood and childhood in the world’s most difficult places. 

Why it matters

The results of poor access to basic healthcare for pregnant women and babies are tragic — and largely preventable. 

  • For almost 1 million babies every year, their first day of life is also their last. Close to 2 million newborns die within seven days of their birth.*
  • Nearly half of all deaths among children under 5 are attributed to malnutrition.*
  • About 830 women die each day from preventable, pregnancy-related causes — 99 percent of them in developing countries.**
  • Globally, one-third of women deliver their babies without the help of a doctor, nurse, or midwife.*

*UNICEF, Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed, September 2015  |  **WHO, Fact Sheet on Maternal Mortality, November 2015

The numbers are daunting and difficult to fathom, but we know God created each one of these women and children in His image, and He has placed us in a position to respond to these urgent needs.

World Vision has pledged to spend $3 billion worldwide on mother and child health programs in the next five years. We’re investing particularly in the critical first 1,000 days of a child’s life — from conception through age 2 — when the right nutrition and health interventions can have life-altering implications on a child’s ability to grow physically and mentally. 

Our Approach

World Vision’s approach is founded on evidence-based, cost-effective practices that address the primary causes of mother and child death and illness.

World Vision recognizes that the ability to sustain positive behaviors is greatly influenced by the support of each individual’s surroundings. Our programs work with households, communities, and health systems to:

  • Provide primary health and nutrition education to change behaviors at the household level, empowering parents to keep themselves and their children healthy
  • Build the capacity of community systems to address and monitor causes of illness, death, and malnutrition
  • Advocate for quality health service delivery, including partnering with national governments to strengthen health systems and ensure delivery of health and nutrition services

When we design projects, we build in local ownership because we believe there is dignity, value, and giftedness in each person. We believe transformed relationships are possible — between husbands and wives, parents and children, health workers and patients — and lead to sustainable change. Restored relationships are part of God’s call to us as His followers. 

Life-saving interventions

  • Train and equip community health workers and volunteers in the recognition, treatment, and prevention of diseases affecting mothers and children
  • Educate mothers about maternal and infant nutrition needs, prenatal and postnatal care, and safe birth practices so they can take control of their own well-being
  • Increase protection from infection and disease by ensuring babies, children, and pregnant and nursing women receive diagnosis and treatment services
  • Empower local faith and community leaders to become agents of change and address cultural values that impact the safety of pregnancy and childbirth
  • Provide therapeutic feeding for malnourished children and supplements for nursing mothers to help improve the nutritional status of children younger than 5
  • Provide vital resources such as vitamin supplements, medicine, and medical supplies so local health facilities have the tools they need to combat life-threatening conditions
Leveraging donated medical supplies
medical.jpg$153 million worth of medical supplies was donated by World Vision's corporate partners in 2014

World Vision strengthens existing health systems and advocates for improved services and supplies. But where gaps exist, we use donated medical supplies and equipment to augment our work, ensure delivery of quality health and nutrition services, and build the capacity of community systems to better address and monitor causes of illness.

Too often rural health clinics lack the medical supplies necessary to meet the healthcare needs of children and families. Ensuring community health workers have adequate medicines and supplies is one of the most powerful ways to reduce deaths in young children. 

Our focus: Overall child well-being

We understand it is impossible to separate the health of a mother from the health of a child — a mother’s health is the biggest determinant of an infant’s start in life. And a child’s physical and cognitive development and lifetime potential are inextricably linked to good health and nutrition from conception through the first years of life.

Our core emphasis is on pregnant women, newborns, and children younger than 5 because the greatest vulnerability lies in these groups. World Vision focuses on three essential outcomes for child well-being: 

  • Mothers and children are well-nourished.
  • Mothers and children are protected from infection and disease.
  • Mothers and children have access to essential health services.

AN INTEGRATED SOLUTION

Through decades of experience, World Vision has learned that success in fighting poverty hinges on addressing all of its contributing factors through a single, integrated response. Our investments in mother and child health support our efforts in other key areas.

CHRISTIAN DISCIPLESHIP Our Christian faith is integrated into all areas of our work. We encourage local churches and faith leaders to be key advocates for mothers and children as we tackle complex cultural, religious, and gender norms that impact their health.

GENDER Our programs promote shared decision-making and caregiving at the household level and have a special focus on increasing men’s engagement in prenatal care, delivery, and caregiving to foster a strong connection with the child.

WATER Clean water and improved sanitation and hygiene reduce infections that contribute to half of child malnutrition. Leveraging our industry-leading water programs maximizes the impact we have on eliminating preventable mother and child deaths and improving health.

ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT Leading scientists, economists, and health experts agree that improving nutrition in a child’s early years is an investment that pays off. For example, children stunted by malnutrition earn 20 percent less as adults.* 

CHILD PROTECTION Child protection and health are both cornerstones of early childhood development. Keeping children safe and protected while ensuring they are healthy and well-nourished is fundamental for a child’s survival, growth, and development. 

EDUCATION We focus on the first 1,000 days of a child’s life, when the right nutrition and health interventions can have life-altering implications on a child’s ability to grow physically and mentally, ultimately affecting his or her ability to learn and thrive.

ADVOCACY As Christians, we believe God has called us to participate in the restoration of broken institutions. Our advocacy programs empower communities to hold their governments accountable for accessibility to and the quality of health services. 

INNOVATION World Vision’s commitment to developing and testing new ways to work better, more efficiently, and with a broader impact on children and communities results in game-changing improvements to tackling healthcare, such as mobile health interventions. 

FRAGILE STATES We address the most challenging health threats facing the world’s most vulnerable children through a comprehensive approach, which focuses on results that help children transition out of crisis and out of extreme poverty.

Food for Thought: Tackling child malnutrition to unlock potential and boost prosperity, May 2013

We have an opportunity to focus global attention on what should be obvious: Every mother, and every child, counts. They count because we value every human life. The evidence is clear that healthy mothers and children are the bedrock of healthy and prosperous communities and nations.

Dr. Lee Jong-wook DIRECTOR- GENERAL, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION (2003-2006)

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We believe that all people deserve accessible, quality healthcare, and we are committed to doing our part to make this happen. … World Vision allows us to live our mission in a way that is aligned with our values.

Dr. Anne Eiting Klamar Chair of the Board of Directors, Midmark

Dr. Anne Eiting Klamar

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403
nurses and midwives trained on updated maternal and newborn healthcare practices
366,591
people were provided with access to maternal and child health and nutrition services
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community health workers trained to provide frontline care

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David Scheiman
Senior Director of Mother and Child Health