CANADA: Canada's international leaders on maternal mortality congratulate Canadian Government
9 JUNE 2009 | OTTAWA - Today in Parliament, an all-party resolution was unanimously passed renewing Canadas commitment to reducing maternal and newborn morbidity and mortality both at home and abroad. Support was expressed for Canadian leadership within government and civil society to work within the G-8 and as partners with UN agencies and appropriate global initiatives to achieve this goal.
Leaders of the International Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the International Confederation of Midwives, the White Ribbon Alliance, and the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada made compelling presentations at a Parliamentary briefing meeting Tuesday morning, chaired by Senator Wilbert Keon. Leaders of all parties, in both the House and Senate, responded immediately and demonstrated leadership in addressing these preventable tragedies. Over half a million women each year die during pregnancy or birth, as well as 7 million newborns and stillbirths due to poor maternal health and a lack of skilled professionals attending birth globally. The resolution is timely as the G8 leaders will meet in Italy in July and next year, here in Canada. Coordinated global efforts are building the necessary political will to ensure success.
The President of the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), Bridget Lynch, in Toronto said:
"This is a great day for Canada and I am proud of the leadership role our government is taking to end the needless deaths of women and their newborns in the poorest countries. Today, Canada has committed to working with the other G8 nations to find solutions to save these lives and to ensure that all women globally have access to family planning. When a woman survives childbirth, her children are more likely to survive childhood. They are more likely to get an education. They are more likely to be well nourished and, thus, they are more likely to make positive contributions to the development of their societies. When a woman has access to family planning, she is more likely to have fewer children who are better educated and provided for. She is able to contribute not only to the well-being of her family, but the well being of her society. It makes sense to save the lives of women in pregnancy and childbirth in order to build strong families and stable societies. We know what to do to save the lives of women in pregnancy and childbirth. We know what to do to save the lives of newborns. Until now, what has been lacking is a political will on the part of the G8 and the G20 to make it happen. Today, Canada joins with resolutions from the European Parliament, the US Congress and the African Parliamentary Union, all of whom have passed similar resolutions in the past few months. This global political will is what is needed to finally end the needless deaths of mothers and their newborns, to help build functioning health systems in developing countries and to create innovative global financing systems to fund these needs."
The President of the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), Dr. Dorothy Shaw, at the University of British Columbia said:
"This resolution confirming Canada's renewed commitment to a goal set in 2000 for all member states of the UN shows leadership at a critical time - the lack of progress to date in preventing maternal and newborn morbidity and mortality is difficult to live with when the solutions are not expensive and not high-tech and require political commitment from all governments. Our Canadian government has shown significant leadership in child health through the Catalytic Initiative and the recognition of the critical importance of maternal health for women and their children will have far-reaching impact. Millennium Development Goal 5 is the only goal that has seen little if any progress, yet it represents a woman's right to life. Partnerships between global leaders, UN agencies, health professionals and civil society will produce results that none can manage in isolation. Development of nations is dependent on how much the lives of its women are valued."
Maureen McTeer, representing the White Ribbon Alliance in Canada said: "With this resolution, Canada's Parliamentarians have committed to helping us save women's lives. I am delighted that our message has been heard and we will work together to achieve the Millennium Development Goals on maternal and child health."
In Ottawa, the Executive Vice President of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, Dr. André Lalonde, said: "This unanimous call for Canada to assume a leadership role in reducing maternal mortality in the poorest countries of the world is an important first step. The SOGC and its Canadian partners (midwives, nurses, family physicians, and pharmacists) are ready and willing to work with Canada foreign aid to bring quality maternity care and emergency obstetrical care to partner countries. Canada has the potential to play a leading role and we must respond to this human tragedy. Too many women are dying without basic care. Governments can work with NGOs to maximize our nation's efforts to reduce this global burden. With one woman dying every minute during childbirth, we need action now. This resolution gives us the momentum we need to join forces to make the world a safe place for our mothers.''
Both the Canadian Association of Midwives (CAM) and the Society of Obstetricians of Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC) have supported this effort to bring a resolution to Parliament. In May, CAM initiated a nationwide 'Mothers and Midwives' Campaign informing all Parliamentarians of this issue and asking for a resolution from Parliament. Today, a tangible and important step was taken. Canada's international leaders on maternal mortality congratulate Canadian Government.