Toronto Star Examines Cost Of Fighting Maternal Mortality, Canada’s G8 Initiative

Experts say that fighting maternal mortality will cost the world a total of $24 billion annually, or an additional $12 billion per year, the Toronto Star writes in an article about Canada’s G8 maternal and child health initiative and a maternal health conference that is being planned ahead of the G8 meeting.

Jill Sheffield – founder and president of the advocacy organization Women Deliver, which will hold a maternal health conference in Washington ahead of the June G8 meetings – said, “We know how much it’s going to cost to do this. And it’s $12-billion additional each year to what we’re doing now.”

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is expected to attend the Women Deliver conference, which will take place from June 7-9 in Washington, D.C. Sheffield said she had also asked Stephen Harper, Canada’s prime minister and his wife but that they had not yet replied. “We hope that one of them really will come, because the meeting is strategically placed about two weeks before the G-8 and the G-20,” she said. “With Prime Minister Harper talking about the fact that this might be his signature issue, this is wonderful. This is just what we need.”

According to the newspaper, “The $12-billion price tag was also cited two weeks ago by Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, head of the United Nations’ Population Fund, when international aid experts met in Copenhagen to discuss Millennium Development Goals.” Obaid said that “doubling current spending on women’s health –on family planning and pregnancy related care together – from the current $12-billion to $24 billion annually would reduce maternal deaths by 70 percent, cut newborn deaths by nearly half and increase productivity and economic growth.”

No one in the Harper government has “discussed any price tag to date on the new commitment to maternal health,” the Toronto Star writes (Delacourt, 4/5). 

This Day Examines Efforts To Improve Health Care, Maternal Mortality, Child Health In Africa

This Day examines efforts by the African Science Academy Development Initiative (ASADI), which consists of scientists from seven different African science academies, to improve health care and reduce maternal mortality in Africa. According to the article, “half of global [maternal] deaths occur in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

The group – which receives funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that is administered through the U.S. National Academies – recently launched “Science in Action,” an initiative aimed at emphasizing scientific approaches “to identify, monitor and evaluate the most appropriate interventions for scaling up in order to strengthen health systems,” This Day writes. ASADI has also introduced an accompanying booklet highlighting “government’s lapses in the use of available provisions.”

The article looks at the initiative’s analysis of maternal and child mortality in Africa and efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goal targets (4/5).

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