Canadians take the lead at United Nations General Assembly in saving lives

TORONTO, Sept. 24, 2014 /CNW/ - Canadians from across the country are joining forces this week to demand that the world rallies behind the most vulnerable women, newborns and children. The 70 organizations in the Canadian Network for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health will be represented at the United Nations General Assembly. According to Dr. Dorothy Shaw, the Canadian Network Chair, "This is a pivotal moment for Canada to inspire and mobilize the world to follow our lead in saving lives". 

Mothers, Newborns and Children See Progress

The Canadian Network is a collaboration of NGOs, universities, doctors, nurses and midwives that improve lives of the most vulnerable in over 1,000 regions around the world. There has been tremendous progress. In 2013, 600,000 fewer children died than in 2010, and 90 million children's lives have been saved in the past two decades. This year alone, at least 250,000 more women will live through pregnancy and childbirth than five years ago.

"Investing in women and children is a smart investment: when women and their children survive and flourish, communities can prosper and nations can thrive," says Dr. Shaw. "Yet in too many countries, progress has been uneven and the most vulnerable women and children aren't being reached."

Canadian Leadership

The impact of Canadian investments can be found in communities around the world:

  • Since 2005, the Canadian Red Cross, with the support of the Canadian government, has invested nearly $90 million in 24 low-resource countries to improve maternal, newborn and child health, reaching more than 13 million people directly, and indirectly benefitting another 40 million.
  • Plan Canada, supported by the Government of Canada and over 25,500 generous Canadians, is providing life-saving health care to mothers, babies and children in 2,753 hard-to-reach communities across seven countries.
  • The Mother Friendly Hospital Initiative has been launched in eight East African hospitals by Save the Mothers.
  • Canada has supported UNICEF in training 62,000 health workers in seven African countries, helping to treat 8.7 million children under five for pneumonia, malaria, and diarrhea – the three deadliest diseases for children under five.
  • Since 2010, with the support of the Canadian Government and Canadians, Save the Children Canada has invested over $34 million in 7 low-income countries to improve maternal, newborn and child health, training over 3,000 Community Health Workers and reaching over 1.2 million children.
  • Micronutrient powders, including the Canadian-developed Sprinkles from SickKids' Centre for Global Child Health, have reached 12.4 million children worldwide.

"With renewed energy and resources, and by working together, this is the moment for the world to rally behind those who have for too long been left behind," says Dr. Helen Scott, Director of the Canadian Network. "We know what to do, and with determination, political will, knowledge and expertise, we can meet our collective goal of ending preventable deaths in a generation."

Network spokespeople Rosemary McCarney of Plan Canada will be available at the United Nations General Assembly in New York to discuss this timely and critical issue. The message from Canadians is clear: we must act now to end preventable deaths among mothers, newborns and children within a generation.

The Canadian Network for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health is comprised of 70 Canadian organizations that are actively engaged in MNCH work in over a thousand regions around the world. The Network has been given a mandate by the partner organizations to play a leadership role in developing synergistic collaboration among Canadian constituents. For more information about the network, visit


SOURCE: Canadian Network for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health

For further information: media should contact: Lisa Robertson: 613-739-7032, ; Susan Wright: 519-703-2020,

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Canadian Network for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health

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