Canadian Government Pledges $3.5 Billion to Maternal & Child Health

Global leaders convened on May 28th-30th at the Saving Every Woman, Every Child: Within Arm’s Reach Summit in Toronto, Canada, where the Canadian government committed $ 3.5 billion from 2015 - 2020 to improve the maternal and child health conditions in low-income countries. The next stage of funding will place an increased focus on interventions during the first month of a newborn’s life, on boosting efforts on immunization and improving civil registration and the collection of vital statistics, according to a press release from the Prime Minister’s office.

This funding comes at a time when 289,000 women still die annually from pregnancy- and childbirth-related causes despite progress made in the past decades. Following the launch of the Muskoka Initiative at the 2010 G8 Summit, the Canadian government has been a leader on these issues over the last years, and the new commitment shows their continued resolve to be at the forefront of global efforts to improve maternal and newborn health in the developing world.

This Summit was used as a platform to highlight progress made since the establishment of the Muskoka Initiative where governments committed to collectively spend $7.3 billion between 2010 and 2015 to accelerate progress towards the achievement of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5, specifically the reduction of maternal, infant and child mortality.

Speakers at the Summit acknowledged the need to garner more support for global prioritization of maternal and child health in the development agenda. They called for acceleration of implementation of innovations, by developing common strategies to enable them reach their goal of ensuring that the lives and health of women and children remain on top of the agenda through 2015 and beyond.

Some of the global leaders who attended the event included His Excellency Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations; Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank; Right Honorable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada; His Excellency Jakaya KiKwete, President of the United Republic of Tanzania; His Highness the Aga Khan; Melinda Gates of the Bill & Gates Foundation among many others.

Jill Sheffield, President and Founder of Women Deliver, spoke at a breakout session about the need to accelerate progress on maternal health alongside Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, the Executive Director of UNFPA; Princess Sarah Zeid; Dr.Jean Chamberlain of Save the Mothers; and Dr. Marleen Temmerman, Director of Reproductive Health and Research at WHO.

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