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Archived - Canadian Leadership Improving the Lives of Women and Children in Sub-Saharan Africa

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The Innovating for Maternal and Child Health in Africa program will accelerate progress on maternal, newborn and child health in nine sub-Saharan countries

May 21, 2014 - Geneva, Switzerland - Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

While taking part in the World Health Assembly in Geneva, at an event on the Newborn Action Plan, Canada’s Minister of Health, the Honourable Rona Ambrose, on behalf of the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, announced the Innovating for Maternal and Child Health in Africa program.

The program will be funded through Canada’s Global Health Research Initiative, a partnership between Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD), the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). With funding of $36 million over seven years, the program will enable important research to be undertaken in nine sub-Saharan African countries to resolve pressing health challenges and to better meet the primary health care needs of mothers, newborns and children.

Improving the health of mothers, newborns and children and reducing the number of preventable deaths are Canada’s top development priority. That is why, following the significant progress made through 2010’s Muskoka Initiative, the Prime Minister is once again taking action to mobilize the world. In Toronto, from May 28 to 30, 2014, Canada will host Saving Every Woman, Every Child: Within Arm’s Reach, an international summit that will build on Canada’s leadership and shape the future of global action on maternal and child health issues.

“Under Canada’s leadership, global attention and resources have been mobilized around maternal and child health issues,” said Minister Ambrose. “I am proud that global action, triggered by the launch of the Canadian–led Muskoka Initiative, has saved countless lives and improved the health of millions of mothers, newborns and children in the developing world. The Innovating for Maternal and Child Health in Africa program being announced today is in line with the Muskoka objectives, and will help enhance the well-being of mothers and children in sub-Saharan Africa.”

“This new research will open doors to women and girls as users of primary health care,” said Jean Lebel, President of the International Development Research Centre. “It will help make primary health care more responsive to their needs and increase access to far more women and children in effective, affordable ways.”

“The Global Health Research Initiative will strengthen the ability of African countries to perform and use research to better address the primary health care needs of mothers, newborns and children and improve health outcomes,” said Dr. Alain Beaudet, President of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. “It represents a unique alignment of Federal Agencies’ efforts to ensure that Canada’s international aid is evidence-based and that its impact is scientifically evaluated.”

“With Canada’s leadership, maternal mortality rates are declining and millions more children are celebrating their fifth birthday,” added Minister Paradis. “Canada’s leadership in this area reflects the values of millions of Canadians who believe that we cannot stand idly by while the poorest and most vulnerable suffer deaths that are easily and inexpensively prevented. Sub-Saharan Africa is an important region for the Government of Canada’s development programming, and this new project will help to ensure that women, newborns and children in nine African countries can have better access to quality health services. By working together, eliminating preventable deaths among women, children and newborns is within arm’s reach.”

Quick Facts

  • On April 28, 2014, the Prime Minister announced that Canada will host Saving Every Woman, Every Child: Within Arm’s Reach, an international Summit on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health issues.
  • The Summit, to be held from May 28 to 30, 2014, in Toronto, will build on Canada’s leadership and bring together Canadian and international leaders and experts, Canadian charities, businesses, scientists, developed and developing countries, international organizations and global foundations to ensure that maternal, newborn and child health remains a priority of the global development agenda.
  • The causes of maternal and under-five child mortality in developing countries are largely preventable with increased access to affordable and cost-effective solutions that most Canadians take for granted.
  • Progress is being made. The number of women who die each year during pregnancy or childbirth has dropped by 45% – from 523,000 deaths in 1990 to 287,000 in 2013.
  • The global number of deaths in children under the age of five has also dropped by 45% from nearly 12 million in 1990 to 6.6 million in 2012.
  • Canada is providing $2.85 billion in funding between 2010 and 2015 under the Muskoka Initiative to save the lives of women and children in developing countries.
  • Canada is on track to meeting its Muskoka commitment, with 80 percent of the funding already disbursed.

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Sandrine Perion
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Office of the Minister of International Development and La Francophonie
819-953-9528
sandrine.perion@international.gc.ca

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