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Canada saves lives and improves the health of mothers and children worldwide

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The health centre construction and rehabilitation project will speed up progress in the area of maternal, newborn and child health in Mali

May 15, 2014 – Ottawa, Ontario – Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

On behalf of the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and for La Francophonie, Senator Suzanne Fortin-Duplessis today announced a $10 million investment in support of the Health Centre Construction and Rehabilitation Project conducted in partnership with Dutch cooperation. The goal of this new initiative is to complete construction of new health centres and the rehabilitation of existing centres, as well as supplying medical equipment.

Senator Fortin-Duplessis stressed Canada's leading role in promoting its key global development priority of maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH). She also referred to the Saving Every Woman, Every Child: Within Arm's Reach international summit, which will shape the future of global action on MNCH issues. The Summit, to be held from May 28 to 30, 2014, in Toronto, will build on Canada's leadership and chart the way forward for future engagements.

"Through global action, kick-started by the Muskoka Initiative, maternal mortality rates are declining and millions more children are celebrating their fifth birthday," said Senator Fortin-Duplessis. "With the help of its partners, including Dutch cooperation, Canada will continue to save lives and improve the health of mothers and children in the developing world, including Mali, which is a country of focus for Canadian international development assistance."

"This project will improve our health system's accessibility and technical expertise, resulting in better care for women and children," said Traore Ami Diallo, Ambassador of the Republic of Mali to Canada. "We welcome the launch of this project, as well as the next Global Summit on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, which will be held from May 28 to 30, 2014, in Toronto, hosted by the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada."

"Canada and the Netherlands have a long history of jointly promoting human rights, good governance, and the protection of the lives of the most vulnerable around the world," said Rochus Pronk, Chargé d'Affaires of the Netherlands Embassy. "Canada's contribution and participation in this project aimed at the construction and rehabilitation of health centers in Mali is essential to help save lives and improve the health of mothers and children in Mali. With this project, our countries also contribute significantly to improving donor coordination in Mali."

Improving the health of mothers, newborns and children and reducing the number of preventable deaths are Canada's top development priority. In 2010, as part of its G-8 presidency, Canada launched a global effort—the Muskoka Initiative—to mobilize the international community to reduce maternal and infant mortality and improve the health of mothers and children in the world's poorest countries. Its efforts paid off: global leaders committed $7.3 billion to this cause. This was followed up in September 2010 by the United Nations' Every Woman, Every Child initiative, of which Canada is a strong supporter.

"The importance Canada places on the health of mothers and children reflects the values of millions of Canadians, who believe that failure to act is not an option when there are easy and inexpensive ways to prevent the deaths of the world's poorest and most vulnerable people," said Minister Paradis. "This project will help stop preventable deaths and help the women, newborns and children of Mali lead healthy and productive lives."

Owing in large part to the Muskoka Initiative and subsequent global action, maternal mortality rates are declining and millions more children are celebrating their fifth birthday.

Increasing access to health services across the developing world is critical to ensuring the health of mothers, newborns and children, and is an important component of the Muskoka Initiative. Further discussions on this important topic will figure prominently at the Summit later this month.

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.

  • This new project will strengthen the healthcare system in southern Mali, improving its ability to respond to the needs of women and children and improve maternal, newborn and child health.

  • Women and children in developing countries are significantly more likely to die from simple, preventable causes, owing to a lack of proven, 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 47 percent, from 543,000 deaths in 1990 to 287,000 in 2010.

  • The number of deaths among children under the age of five has dropped by 45 percent worldwide, 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 in meeting its Muskoka commitment, with 80 percent of the funding already disbursed.

Related Products

Backgrounder: Mali Health Centre Construction and Rehabilitation

Related links

Prime Minister announcement: Saving Every Woman Every Child: Within Arm's Reach (2014-04-28)

Contacts

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

Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD)
343-203-7700
media@international.gc.ca
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