The Strengthening Immunization Supply Chains initiative will accelerate progress on maternal, newborn and child health in the world's poorest countries
April 23, 2014 – Edmonton, Alberta – Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
Today, on behalf of the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, Regional Minister of Northern Alberta and Member of Parliament for Edmonton-Spruce Grove, announced $20 million toward an initiative to be implemented by the GAVI Alliance. The Strengthening Immunization Supply Chains initiative entails improvements to the storage, handling and stock management of vaccines in developing countries.
Minister Ambrose highlighted Canada's leadership role in promoting the health of women, newborns and children in developing countries. The Strengthening Immunization Supply Chains initiative with the GAVI Alliance will ensure that more children in the world's poorest countries have access to life saving vaccines.
"Canadians agree that we should not stand idly by while women, children and newborns suffer deaths that are easily and inexpensively prevented," said Minister Ambrose. "Thanks to global action, kickstarted by the Muskoka Initiative, maternal mortality rates are declining and millions more children are celebrating their fifth birthday. With the GAVI Alliance and other partners, Canada will continue to save lives and improve the health of mothers and children in the developing world."
"We are very grateful to the Canadian government for its new commitment," said Dr. Seth Berkley, Chief Executive Officer of the GAVI Alliance. "Many children do not have access to vaccines because of outdated and inefficient supply chains, but Canada's continued support paves the way for the GAVI Alliance to work with its partners to help countries strengthen their systems and ensure children get the vaccines they need no matter where they live."
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 called the Muskoka Initiative to mobilize action worldwide to reduce maternal and infant mortality and improve the health of mothers and children in the world's poorest countries. Through the Muskoka Initiative, global leaders committed $7.3 billion toward reducing maternal and infant mortality and improving the health of mothers and children in the world's poorest countries. This was followed up in September 2010 by the UN Every Woman, Every Child initiative, of which Canada is a leading supporter.
"By working together, eliminating preventable deaths among women, newborns and children is within arm's reach," said Minister Paradis. "This initiative will help ensure that more children in the world's poorest countries have access to lifesaving vaccines by strengthening the immunization supply chains."
Due 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. Although our common goal has not yet been achieved, it is within arm's reach. That is why Prime Minister Harper is hosting the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Summit on May 28–30, 2014, in Toronto. The high-level summit will build on Canada's leadership and chart the way forward for the next phase of global efforts.
Minister Ambrose also took the opportunity to remind Canadians that immunization saves lives in Canada as well. With National Immunization Awareness Week starting on April 26, Minister Ambrose highlighted the recent launch of the free ImmunizeCA mobile application, which helps Canadians track their vaccinations and ensure their family's immunizations are up to date.
"I want to remind Canadians that immunization saves lives abroad, as well as here at home," said Minister Ambrose. "I encourage all Canadians to download ImmunizeCA to help keep track of their immunizations electronically and quickly access information from trusted sources."
- Immunization is one of the most successful and cost-effective public health interventions.
- It is estimated that since 1974, up to three million deaths have been prevented globally every year through immunization programs.
- Canada has produced a record of success: between 2010 and 2013, an estimated two million deaths from disease were prevented through global efforts on immunization.
- The GAVI Alliance is an international public-private partnership that brings together developing countries and donor governments, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry in both industrialized and developing countries, research and technical agencies, civil society, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and other private sector partners.
- Women and children in developing countries are significantly more likely to die from simple, preventable causes due to a lack of proven, affordable and cost-effective solutions that most Canadians take for granted.
- Progress is being made: the global number of deaths in children under the age of five has dropped 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, with 80 percent of the funding already disbursed.
- National Immunization Awareness Week takes place from April 26 to May 3.
- The ImmunizeCA mobile application helps parents store and manage their family vaccination records, easily access their provincial or territorial vaccination schedule, as well as find timely and accurate information on the benefits of vaccination. The app also provides local outbreak alert notifications, vaccination resources, as well as schedules and tools regarding children, adults and travellers.
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of International Development and La Francophonie
Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD)
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