Ensuring the future of mothers and children in sub-Saharan Africa - Canada's Prime Minister announces DFATD, IDRC, and CIHR support to 20 life-saving projects in Africa

OTTAWA, Feb. 25, 2015 /CNW/ - Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced support to 20 research teams that will help identify, test, and deliver practical, cost-effective solutions to improve maternal and child health in 13 countries across sub-Saharan Africa. The Prime Minister made the announcement following his meeting with Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates.  

This is part of a 7-year, $36 million program funded by Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD), Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC), and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). It will see leading Canadian and African researchers, and African decision-makers brought together under 20 promising projects – all aimed at saving and improving the lives of mothers, newborns, and children in a region of the world where maternal and child deaths – though falling – remain unacceptably high.

"We can eliminate preventable deaths of mothers and children by working together to find the most effective solutions," said the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie. "Canada's leadership in improving the health of mothers and children is helping secure the future of families and whole communities in the developing world."

 "Today's announcement is more than an investment in the health of mothers and children; it is an investment in the future development of the region," says IDRC President Jean Lebel. "The funding commitment of our Canadian partners combined with the work of the Canadian- and African-led teams, means more affordable, life-saving interventions will be available to many more women and children in Africa."

"The projects we are supporting with our partners will help solve many pressing health system problems affecting mothers and children in Africa," says CIHR President Alain Beaudet. "By linking researchers and health care decision-makers from Canada and Africa, we are not only putting effective interventions into practice, but also facilitating collaborations that may have a widespread impact on the delivery of health services in this part of the world."

Ensuring that mothers, newborns, and children in developing countries survive and thrive is a top development priority for Canada. Significant progress has been made through the Muskoka Initiative, launched by the Prime Minister in 2010.  But more progress is needed. Today's announcement contributes to Canada's leadership in promoting the health of mothers and children around the world.

The 20 projects will take place in the following countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. The most promising interventions will also be eligible for additional funds to help bring them to scale, ensuring that the benefits to maternal and child health are spread among the greatest number.

For more information, see Backgrounder

See the prime minister's official announcement

About IDRC
A key part of Canada's foreign policy efforts, IDRC supports research in developing countries to promote growth and development. The result is innovative, lasting solutions that aim to improve lives and livelihoods.

The mandate of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD) is to manage Canada's diplomatic and consular relations, to encourage the country's international trade, and to lead Canada's international development and humanitarian assistance.

About CIHR
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the Government of Canada's health research investment agency. CIHR's mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to enable its translation into improved health, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened health care system for Canadians. Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to more than 13,700 health researchers and trainees across Canada.


SOURCE International Development Research Centre

For further information: Media Contact: Russell Millon, Email: rmilon@idrc.ca/+1 613 696 2157/ @IDRC_CRDI


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