PM meets with Bill Gates to advance maternal, newborn and child health priority

Ottawa, Ontario – 25 February 2015

Today the world stands on the verge of being able to end the preventable deaths of women and children within a generation. This remarkable success story is rooted in the efforts of developing countries, backed by the unwavering commitment of international partners such as the Government of Canada and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Building on the accomplishments of the Saving Every Woman, Every Child Summit in Toronto in May 2014, where Canada renewed its commitment to improving the health of mothers and children from 2015 to 2020, there continues to be unprecedented momentum to this global effort. This was witnessed most recently at the successful pledging conference for GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, to which the Government of Canada and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation were key partners. With the Government of Canada’s support, GAVI will be able to immunize an additional 300 million children, preventing up to six million premature deaths.

Canada remains steadfast in its commitment to working with Canadian and international partners, like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, toward the goal of ending the preventable deaths of mothers, newborns and children under the age of five.

During today’s visit to Ottawa by Bill Gates, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced support for the following three initiatives:

  • The Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV Introduction) Initiative ($20 million – 2014/2015) – This initiative will help the World Health Organization strengthen long-term immunity against polio by introducing the injectable inactivated polio vaccine in Côte d’Ivoire, Honduras, Malawi, and Tanzania, and procure doses that will enable the immunization of 2.45 million children in these countries.
  • The Eliminate Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Initiative (Up to $2.5 million – 2015/16 and 2016/17) – This initiative will match the contributions of UNICEF Canada and the Kiwanis Foundation of Canada up to $2.5 million over two years in support of the Eliminate Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Initiative. It will provide approximately 3.4 million women of reproductive age with three doses of tetanus toxoid vaccine in Chad, Kenya, Pakistan, South Sudan and Sudan.
  • The Innovating for Maternal and Child Health Program (up to $20 million – 2014/15 to 2019/20) – This initiative will support the innovative work of 20 implementation research teams made up of Canadian and African researchers in 13 sub-Saharan African countries to help resolve pressing challenges and better meet the primary healthcare needs of mothers, newborns and children in Benin, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

Maternal, Newborn and Child Health

Improving the health of mothers, newborns and children around the world is Canada’s top international development priority. It is unacceptable that women and children continue to die from preventable causes, such as a lack of skilled attendance at birth, undernourishment and diets lacking basic vitamins and minerals, or diarrhea from dirty water.

Canada is also committed to addressing emerging challenges, including: reaching children in the fragile first month of life; stepping up immunization efforts; improving nutrition; and building civil registration and vital statistics systems to improve accountability for results and as a passport to a child’s rights.

For more information on Canada’s commitment to maternal, newborn and child health, please visit the Government of Canada’s MNCH web page.

Source: General