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Report Urges Canada To Increase Foreign Aid Spending For G8 Maternal, Child Health Initiative

The coalition Make Poverty History released a report on Wednesday, which praises Canada’s spending on food aid and programs aimed at fighting diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, but it also says Canada should spend more on its maternal and child health G8 initiative, the Canadian Press/CTV News reports.

“‘Canada’s contribution falls short of what is needed’ on improving maternal health, as well as ensuring environmental sustainability and giving all children access to universal primary education, the report states,” the news service writes. According to the report, “Canada has a crucial leadership role as host of the G8 and G20 summits in June 2010. The two summits represent a critical opportunity to inspire a redoubling of efforts required to achieve the MDGs by the 2015 target date” (6/9).

The report notes that Canada “ranks 14th among 23 developed countries when it comes to foreign aid as a percentage of national income,” CBC News writes (6/8). Canada also is not even at the halfway mark on its “pledge to allocate 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) to international development,” according to the report, the Toronto Sun writes. “Canada risks falling further behind with a freeze on aid spending starting next year, despite aid groups calling for new money for the G8 child and maternal health plan” (Payton, 6/9).

If the funding freeze continues, “it is hard to see how we can have the much needed initiative on Maternal and Child Health this government has promised, without cutting back on other goals. It’s critical to maintain an integrated approach as each goal rests on the success of the other,” Gerry Barr, chair of Make Poverty History and CEO of the Canadian Council for International Cooperation, said in a press release (6/9).

Also in light of recent details about Canada’s G8 maternal and child health initiative, Michel Kazatchkine, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, said “he doesn’t think donor countries should get to pick and choose which child- and maternal-health initiatives get funded and which don’t,” the Canadian Press/CTV News reports. Kazatchkine is in Toronto on Thursday (6/9).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.