AMREF Cautiously Welcomes New G8 Funding
for Maternal and Child Health in Africa
7:40pm ET June 25, 2010
Toronto, CANADA Friday, June 25, 2010 – Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced today that G8 member countries will commit $5 billion USD towards maternal and child health over the next five years of which Canada will contribute $1.1 billion CAN of new funds. This support is welcomed by the African Medical & Research Foundation (AMREF), a leading health development organization working in sub-Saharan Africa for over 50 years. However this is well below expectations and in order to achieve real progress, previous commitments must be delivered and the total spend must be appropriately directed.
Canada and G8 partner countries need to direct these funds to basic, frontline health services in sub-Saharan Africa in order to significantly improve the survival of women and children. AMREF’s experience demonstrates that a community-based approach is the most successful strategy for reducing deaths of mothers and children and is essential to achieving all health Millennium Development Goals. Further, African governments need to be supported and held accountable for their part in the delivery of health interventions in the communities.
“We know that having access to frontline health facilities in Africa that are adequately staffed with trained health workers result in dramatic and immediate improvements in the health of mothers and children,” according to Dr. John Nduba, AMREF’s Director of Reproductive and Child Health. “Only healthy communities can begin to address issues of poverty and economic development.”
Specifically, AMREF recommends integrating NGOs and ministries of health in the design and delivery of primary health care services. To be effective, strategies must include the following:
· Address the crisis in shortages of health workers with training and support for the right mix of community health workers (midwives, nurses, health extension workers) who are paid a living wage and integrated into the formal national health systems
· Invest and maintain basic health facilities (health centres, dispensaries and clinics) with essential medical and pharmaceutical supplies
· Remove all direct and indirect user fees for women and children
· Ensure communities are full participants in the management of their health services
AMREF’s extensive and lengthy work in health development demonstrates that to achieve successful outcomes, health services must be organized and developed around communities as key participants. This must include the training of community members to act as bridges and facilitators with the formal health service. This approach results in acceptance and strong community engagement in better health for all.
“We must remember that Africa has 13 percent of the world’s population and 25 percent of the global disease burden but only 1.3 percent of the world’s health workforce,” said Dr. Nduba, “AMREF’s experience in strengthening health development in Africa demonstrates that increasing investments in maternal and child health can achieve dramatic results.”
G8 Media Buzzing with Excitement around Leak 12:55pm ET June 25, 2010
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expected to announce later today a Canadian commitment of at least $2 billion to maternal and child health, according to a story leaked by Canwest News Service. Stay tuned for updates from AMREF Team at the G8 Alternative Media Centre.
Read full story here
Follow AMREF's Updates on Global Health Council Blog
12:30pm ET June 25, 2010
The Global Health Council will be including AMREF's news in it's Blog4GlobalHealth
AMREF's Campaign showcased in Leading Canadian National Paper
AMREF's 2010 G8 G20 Updates
World Leaders Arrive in Toronto and AMREF Attends G20 Businees Leaders Event with President Zuma
June 24, 2010
Almost hourly today, world leaders and representatives began arriving at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport for the fast-approaching G8 and G20 Summits.
South African President, Jacob Zuma was among the first to arrive, followed by Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, one of several leaders from non G8-G20 countries invited to participate.
Both leaders attended the G20 Business Leaders Conference, geared at business investment in African markets. Dr. John Nduba, AMREF’s Director of Reproductive and Child Health, was among 200 guests who were present for President Zuma’s lunchtime keynote address.
President Jonathan stated with pride that South Africa hosting the 2010 World Cup is making world history and that once again, football is connecting countries and people around the world. Citing the AMREF–Unicef campaign – One Goal for Africa – Zuma stated his wish: that every South African child be enrolled in school and receiving education by the next World Cup in 2014 and that both South Africa and developed nations should invest in this vision. He then pronounced boldly, “Africa is open for business”.
At the same time, just a few kilometers south, AMREF’s Research Lead, Victoria Kimotho, explored the G8 and G20 International Media Centre, complete with a visit to the “Fake Lake”. Even sitting in the reportedly uncomfortable Muskoka Chairs couldn’t provide and idea of what it would feel like to be up north in cottage country with the G8 leaders.
But it was a busy day for Ms. Kimotho, who spent most of the day taking interviews with local media, stressing the importance of the G8 Summit in putting forth commitments and action to deliver on maternal health. This followed an early morning meeting that Dr. John Nduba had with G8 Sherpas to discuss Africa’s need for greater investment in this area. It was a productive meeting and AMREF hopes that it will be beneficial in putting forth a strong case for investment in mothers in Africa.
With just a few hours to go, all are excited and earerly anticipate the updates and announcements that come forth from the Summits.
Canada Prepares for G8 and G20 Summits as Earthquake hits Southern Ontario
Wednesday June 23, 2010.
Toronto, usually known as a safe city has become a bunker in anticipation of the G20 Summit later this week. With thousands of police and security personnel converging on the metropolis, a 9 foot fence has been erected surrounding the perimeter of a no-go zone in the heart of the city.
With many citizens wisely avoiding the downtown core, the brave souls who live here or dutifully ventured to city-center offices felt a tremor Wednesday afternoon. The 5.0 earthquake, centered north of Ottawa, shook the CIDA headquarters where staff of AMREF were holding meetings.
Despite these reminders of security and safety threats, AMREF is excited to be heading into the G8 and G20 Summits, with two key health experts in Toronto for the week Dr. John Nduba, AMREF’s Director of Reproductive and Child Health and Victoria Kimotho, AMREF’s Research Lead have hit the ground running with presentations, interviews, meetings and events since Monday.
With Maternal and Child Health high on the agenda for the Summits, AMREF is getting its voice heard because of its leadership and expertise in the area.
“AMREF knows we must urge leaders to deliver basics health care for women in Africa,” says Dr. Nduba at Canadian offices of AMREF, located in Toronto, on Tuesday afternoon. “Infrastructure, human resources for health and working with communities and governments are all vital to stopping the unnecessary deaths of mothers and children.”
AMREF’s goal is clear – to do what it takes to ensure better health for the most marginalized and disadvantaged in Africa, especially the one in 16 women who risk dying each year across Africa in pregnancy and childbirth. By training midwives and equipping health centres, AMREF has seen much success in places like Southern Sudan, where the maternal mortality rate is the highest on earth.
The AMREF Canada staff are enthusiastic and excited about the opportunities this week presents. With G8 and G20 leaders on Canadian soil, we have a great opportunity to help leaders understand the value and the significance of our work, and it’s an opportunity that we can’t pass up, even if it means staying in Toronto with the barricades and earthquakes.
In any case, the Muskokas which are situated a few hundred kilometers north and a popular and nature-filled weekend getaway for many southern Ontarians, will also be off limits in anticipation of the G8 leaders who kick off their two day Summit on Friday.
Stay tuned for daily G8 and G20 updates from AMREF Canada
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