MP REPORT: Maternal health is vital

Colin Mayes writes about Ottawa's goal to reduce the number of women who die each year during pregnancy or childbirth

At the Muskoka G-8 Summit in 2010, Prime Minister Stephen Harper brought maternal, newborn and child health to the forefront of the global development agenda.

Since then, we have worked together globally, as never before, significantly reducing the number of women who die each year during pregnancy or childbirth, dramatically increasing the number of children who live past the age of five, and preventing an estimated two million deaths in the last three years from disease alone.

During the last three years, we’ve learned important lessons about enhancing immunization and nutrition, about strengthening health care systems, and about the importance of collecting and maintaining vital statistics including birth and death registries.

Since this initiative began the number of women who die each year during pregnancy or childbirth has dropped significantly from 523,000 deaths in 1990 to 289,000 in 2013.

The number of children dying, under the age of five, has dropped drastically from nearly 12 million in 1990 to 6.6 million in 2012.

Prime Minister Harper stated, “There is a moral imperative to saving the lives of vulnerable women and children in some of the poorest countries around the world when it is in our power to do so. It is unacceptable that these vulnerable global citizens die from preventable causes which can be addressed with proven, affordable and cost effective solutions – some costing mere pennies.”

With the leadership of Prime Minister Harper, Canada has become the global leading voice on freedom, human rights, democracy, and the rule of law, and most importantly, the hands that help the poor and oppressed of this world. This should make every Canadian proud.