Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada Focused on Maternal, Child Health Ahead of Summit in Toronto

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada Focused on Maternal, Child Health Ahead of Summit in Toronto

Article excerpt

Canada stresses mother-child health care

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GENEVA - A week before an international conference on maternal and child health care opens in Toronto, the Harper government is rolling out announcements on what it sees as its signature issue on the world stage.

In Geneva, Health Minister Rona Ambrose pledged $36 million over seven years to help improve the lives of women and children in sub-Saharan Africa.

Hours later in Calgary, Deepak Obhrai, the parliamentary secretary to Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, unveiled another program to help mothers and children in South Sudan.

Ambrose was at the World Health Assembly in Geneva when she pledged the money to help pay for research in nine countries into the primary health care needs of mothers, newborns and children. The countries are Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania, Mozambique, Mali, Senegal, South Sudan, Malawi and Nigeria.

Obhrai said Canada will put up $19.9 million over six years to staff and equip four mobile primary health care clinics and provide other services to 350,000 people in more than 600 remote communities in Warrap state, South Sudan.

Canada will also help train 1,500 community health volunteers, deliver 116,000 anti-malarial bed nets and build 170 safe drinking-water points.

The announcements come ahead of the May 28-30 conference in Toronto, which is aimed at helping to shape future action on maternal and child health problems.

The Harper government pushed mother and child health issues at the G8 summit in June 2010. Canada pledged to spend $2.85 billion between 2010 and 2015 to assist women and children in developing countries as part of what was called the Muskoka Initiative. …

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