Caring for all women and children

Times-Herald Staff
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Where you live shouldn’t determine whether you live.

According to UNICEF, 18,000 children die every day from causes that can be prevented.

The “Saving Every Woman, Every Child” health summit wrapped up on Friday in Toronto with hundreds of delegates from around the world. Prime Minister Stephen Harper committed another $3.5 billion to improve global maternal, newborn and childcare.

This is a huge step in reaching the goal of ending the preventable diseases that mothers and children under the age of five face like tuberculosis, pneumonia, malaria and diarrhea.

The $3.5-billion pledge is more than twice the $1.1-billion originally promised at the 2010 G8 summit and it builds on the Muskoka initiative total $2.85-billion commitment from Canada.

Ban Ki-moon, the secretary general of the United Nations called upon Canada and all G7 countries to spend 0.7 per cent of GDP on overseas development spending.

Unfortunately, as great as this pledge is, it is only 0.3 per cent that Canada will meet.

The United Nations and Ban were grateful for the significant contribution, but Canada can and should be matching that 0.7 per cent threshold.

Canadians and the world should be proud that the Conservative government is committing long-term to helping those that don’t always have the resources to help themselves.

To be able to provide dollars and supplies to help women and children in places like Africa with critical health services is important.

One of the major critiques of this pledge is that Harper avoided the critical issue of contraception, which is part of the full range of maternal health.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 120 million women around the world want access to family planning.

To not have contraception on the agenda at the summit is a major letdown.

This initiative is important and the pledge is sincere, but Canada should want to help in a full range of maternal health issues and services.  

The Conservative government should be given accolades for stepping up and increasing their spending and commitment for this cause.

However, if Canada gave just a little bit more and helped with contraception initiatives, they could help saves million more lives.

No child should grow up without their mother and no mother should have to grieve the loss of her child.

Every mother and child, no matter how poor, should be given a chance to participate in life.

All Times-Herald editorials are written by the editorial staff. 

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