Canada Leading the World in Saving Lives of Mothers and Children

Minister Paradis highlights Prime Minister Harper’s leadership on maternal, newborn and child health

December 23, 2014 – Ottawa, Ontario – Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

The Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, today highlighted Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s ongoing leadership on improving the lives of women and children in developing countries and reiterated Canada’s commitment to achieving the goal of ending preventable deaths of mothers and children within a generation.

“We do not stand idle while women, newborns and children suffer deaths that are easily and inexpensively prevented,” said Minister Paradis. “That is why Prime Minister Harper champions the health of women and children in developing countries with the goal of ending preventable deaths of mothers and children within a generation. Canada’s leadership on maternal, newborn and child health is saving the lives of women and children in the world’s poorest countries through such proven approaches as improved nutrition and access to immunization.”

Although significant progress has been made globally since 2010 when Prime Minister Harper first drew the world’s attention to the importance of maternal, newborn and child health, too many mothers and children continue to die from preventable causes. In recognition of this global challenge, the Prime Minister hosted the Saving Every Woman, Every Child: Within Arm's Reach Summit in May 2014. This summit brought together Canadian and international leaders and experts, and successfully accomplished its goal of reigniting attention to this pressing global issue and reaffirming Canada as a global leader.

“Maternal, newborn and child health remains Canada’s top international development priority,” added Minister Paradis. “Canada is fulfilling the promise it made to the world’s women and children through the 2010 Muskoka Initiative and the recent Toronto Summit and will push to ensure that this issue features prominently in the global development agenda for the coming years.”

Canadian civil society, academic, and private sector organizations will continue to play a critical role in shaping and delivering on our commitment. In recognition of their wealth of expertise, the Government has held more than 25 round tables and consultations with these organizations across the country to ensure that they remain fully engaged in shaping the way forward on Canada’s top development priority. The Government of Canada is also working hand-in-hand with the Canadian Network for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, which represents the country’s best and brightest in saving the lives of women and children. On November 5, 2014, Minister Paradis also launched a call for proposals from Canadian organizations that will fund initiatives for up to five years that will help reduce maternal and child mortality and improve women’s and children’s health.

“I am proud of the success of our partnership with Canadian organizations through the Muskoka Initiative on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health,” said Minister Paradis. “Millions of lives have been saved through better nutrition, immunization, health worker training, micronutrient supplements and more. Communities in the developing world will be stronger and more prosperous because of Canada’s leadership in saving the lives of mothers and children. Together, we will continue to push that maternal, newborn and child health is at the forefront of the global post-2015 development agenda and we will champion the issues that can make a real difference in the lives of women and children around the world.”

Quick Facts  Maternal, newborn and child health is Canada’s top international development priority.

 In 2010, the world came together to make saving the lives of women and children a global priority: first in Canada, with the G-8 Muskoka Initiative, and again in New York with the United Nations Secretary-General’s Every Woman Every Child initiative.
 Impressive international progress is being made to address maternal, newborn and child health. The number of women who die each year during pregnancy or childbirth has dropped substantially—from 523,000 deaths in 1990 to 289,000 in 2013.
 The global number of deaths of children under the age of five has dropped significantly as well, from nearly 12.7 million in 1990 to 6.3 million in 2013.
 On May 28 to 30, 2014, in Toronto, Prime Minister Harper convened Canadian and global experts and leaders in MNCH to the Saving Every Woman Every Child: Within Arm's Reach Summit to set out the path forward to achieve the goal of ending preventable deaths of women and children within a generation.
 At the Summit, Canada made a significant commitment to provide $3.5 billion for the period of 2015-2020 to support MNCH and ensure that all women, newborns and children can live healthy and productive lives.
 As part of the $3.5 billion, Canada is contributing:
       o $200 million in support of the Global Financing Facility For Every Woman Every Child to finance maternal, newborn and child health initiatives in developing countries, of which $100 million will be devoted to helping developing countries build and strengthen their civil registration and vital statistics systems;
       o $370 million for the Partnerships for Strengthening Maternal, Newborn and Child Health call for proposals designed to leverage Canadian expertise and innovation to reduce maternal and child mortality and improve women’s and children’s health in 40 developing countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East;
       o $500 million in new support to the Gavi Alliance toward life-saving vaccines for children around the world; and
       o $150 million to the Micronutrient Initiative to support direct, evidence-based and cost-effective nutrition interventions.

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