PM convenes Canadian experts and global leaders in maternal, newborn and child health

Canada to host Summit on saving the lives of vulnerable women and children

Ottawa, Ontario
6 March 2014


Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced that Canada will host a high-level Summit on maternal, newborn and child health from May 28-30, 2014, in Toronto, Ontario.  

The Summit – which builds on Canada’s leadership in maternal, newborn and child health – will bring together Canadian stakeholders and experts, as well as global leaders from developed and developing countries, international organizations, civil society, the private sector, and foundations to take stock of the progress made to date and discuss the way forward.

The Summit will provide Canadian experts and global leaders with the opportunity to build consensus on the focus of future international efforts in maternal, newborn and child health. Specifically, it will focus on the critical issues of strengthening health systems and building civil registration and vital statistics systems; reducing the burden of disease on developing countries; scaling up nutrition as a foundation for healthy lives; and building new partnerships with the private sector to leverage innovation and financing.

In June 2010, under Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s leadership, the G-8 launched the Muskoka Initiative on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, which aimed to save the lives of mothers, newborns and children under five years old in developing countries. G-8 and non-G8 partners committed a total of U.S. $7.3 billion in new and additional funding over five years (2010-2015) for the initiative. According to the World Health Organization and the World Bank estimates, the funds leveraged by Canada’s Muskoka Initiative will save the lives of 1.3 million children and 64,000 mothers.

In response to Canada’s leadership on maternal, newborn and child health, and its commitment to accountability, Prime Minister Harper co-chaired a United Nations commission on accountability and transparency to monitor the progress of the Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health.  The Commission issued its report, Keeping Promises, Measuring Results, in May 2011.

Quick Facts

  • Women and children in developing countries are significantly more likely to die from simple, preventable causes, due to a lack of proven, affordable and cost-effective solutions that most Canadians take for granted.
  • Progress is being made. The number of women who die each year during pregnancy or childbirth has dropped substantially – from 543,000 deaths in 1990 to 287,000 in 2011.
  • The global number of deaths in children under the age of five has dropped significantly as well, from nearly 12 million in 1990 to 6.6 million in 2012.
  • Canada is providing $2.85 billion in funding between 2010 and 2015 under the Muskoka Initiative to improve the health and save the lives of women and children in developing countries.
  • Canada is on track to meeting its Muskoka commitment, with 80 per cent of the funding already disbursed.


“Canadian efforts have drawn global attention to the challenges of maternal, newborn and child health.  With our partners, we have made significant progress, saving millions of lives.  Canada will once again mobilize world leaders, revitalize efforts and drive action by hosting a Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Summit this spring.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper 

“Saving the lives of mothers and children is not only a moral imperative, it is also the foundation for building prosperous communities for this generation and the next. With Canadian leadership and the help of partners in Canada and around the world, we can achieve this goal and ensure that all women, newborns and children can live healthy and productive lives.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper

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