Letter: Give mom the best gift of all

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Give mom the best gift of all

Editor of the Reformer:

We celebrate Mother's Day as a time to appreciate our mothers who were always there for us, letting us know every step of the way that it was going to be okay. One thing many of us remember about our mothers is that her kids were the most important and worthwhile thing in her life. She let us know every time we scuffed up our knee or had our first playground fight by being there and taking care of us. However, mothers who don't have access to resources that could save their own or their baby's lives don't have the luxury of comforting their children with soft words murmured hundreds of times before.

Each year, 5.9 million children around the world die of preventable and curable problems before their fifth birthday — that's 11 children every minute. This isn't just about unimaginable numbers though, this is about children and mothers. Imagine your child is dying and you know the cure to their disease exists, but it's locked in a cabinet that you can't open. So instead you watch as you lose the one you love most in the world. This is a reality that mothers across the world face each day.

Working in partnership with other countries, the US Agency for International Development has been a leader in reducing the death rate of children under five from 12.7 million in 1990 to 5.9 million today. Now, we can eradicate preventable deaths of mothers and children by 2035. The Reach Every Mother and Child Act (HR 3706, S 1911) will put us on a path to make that possible. It won't even take extra money, just a smarter more effective use of our maternal and child health spending.

Thank you to Rep. Peter Welch who has already signed on. Now is the time for him as well as Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Patrick Leahy to encourage the leadership of the House Foreign Affairs and Senate Foreign Relations Committees to work on the Reach Act. This Mother's Day, we have a chance to give mom's the best gift of all: the opportunity to have the resources they need to keep their children alive and healthy, the most worthwhile investment in the world.

Havah Patton, Putney, May 6


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