Samaritan's Purse Canada supports G8 summit's focus on child and maternal

Relief and development organization applauds PM's desire to raise awareness and funding

CALGARY, June 11 /CNW/ - Samaritan's Purse, an organization committed to providing hope and dignity to women and their families in the developing world, is in full support of the decision by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other G8 world leaders to focus their June 25-26 summit on child and maternal health issues.

"We encourage Canada to continue to provide leadership to the G8 nations in creating a global action plan that will significantly and sustainably improve maternal and child health worldwide, and prevent the needless deaths of millions of women and children," said Fred Weiss, Executive Director of Samaritan's Purse Canada. "The need to reduce maternal and child mortality is particularly urgent."

Canada's G8 partners have endorsed Harper's wish to focus international aid on saving the lives of new mothers and young children. G8 leaders will try to develop a strategy at their summit meeting in Muskoka, ON.

The summit comes at a critical time because, of all the Millennium Development Goals the United Nations has established for improving global conditions, those addressing maternal, newborn, and child health are the furthest from reaching the desired targets, according to Action for Global Health, a group of European non-government organizations. The World Health Organization, UNICEF, and World Bank report that each day, 1,400 women die of pregnancy-related causes, and 24,000 children under the age of five die from what are largely preventable causes.

Samaritan's Purse works with local partners in the developing world to care for marginalized women and their families through a variety of initiatives that address maternal health while also respecting the sanctity of life. From training traditional birth attendants in Vietnam, to providing pre- and post-natal care in Africa, to educating mothers about nutrition and early childhood diseases in Bolivia, Samaritan's Purse projects are empowering women to improve their own health and the health of their families.

"Our organization is investing in women and children's health projects with the hope of providing spiritual encouragement and greater freedom from poverty," Weiss said.

About Samaritan's Purse Canada

Samaritan's Purse Canada is an international Christian relief and development organization working in about 70 countries to provide aid to victims of war, disease, disaster, poverty, famine, and persecution. The Calgary-based charity also operates the well-known Operation Christmas Child program that sends gift-filled shoe boxes to needy children around the world each year, and the Turn on the Tap initiative that raises funds for life-saving BioSand Water Filters in the developing world. To learn more about Samaritan's Purse Canada, visit or call 1-800-663-6500.

SOURCE Samaritan's Purse Canada

For further information: For further information: Media Inquiries: Jeff Adams, Director, Communications and Creative Services Dept., Samaritan's Purse Canada, 1-800-663-6500, or 1-403-615-8747 (cell),

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