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UNICEF Canada welcomes Prime Minister's news of directed funding to bolster maternal, newborn and children health initiatives in Ethiopia, Mozambique and Bangladesh

2011-01-26

TORONTO, January 26, 2010 - UNICEF Canada today welcomed the announcement from the Prime Minister that as part of its 5-year $2.85-billion commitment under the Muskoka Initiative, the Canadian government is directing funds specifically to UNICEF development projects to help save the lives and improve the health of mothers and children in Ethiopia, Mozambique and Bangladesh.

"With this funding, UNICEF will be able to provide long term, sustainable solutions that will save children's lives in Ethiopia, Mozambique and Bangladesh. Training community health workers is a proven, highly effective way of improving the nutrition and health of children and their mothers over the long term," says Kimberly Moran, Interim President and Chief Executive Officer of UNICEF Canada.

"UNICEF strongly advocates an equity approach towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, especially in the area of maternal, newborn and children's health," she says. "An equity focus - aimed at meeting the rights and needs of the most deprived - will save more children per dollar spent than many traditional approaches to providing health interventions in developing countries. Today's announcement is definitely in keeping with this philosophy. Our donors can be proud of their role in helping these children."

Government funding has been directed to UNICEF for the following:

Ethiopia

Improve food security for mothers and children through community based nutrition. Canada's contribution will help UNICEF improve the nutrition and health of three million pregnant and nursing women and their children in Ethiopia. Canada's funding will help train more than 4,000 community health workers to provide lifesaving treatment for malnourished children and supplements that are essential to ensure the health of children and mothers, such as Vitamin A and iron.  This project will also improve health and nutrition in the long term by helping mothers provide their children with the right foods at the right time and by ensuring access to clean water for 125,000 people. ($50 million over five years).

Mozambique

Launch a nationwide measles vaccination campaign in Mozambique. This project will enable the Mozambique Ministry of Health and UNICEF to undertake a nationwide public health campaign targeting over three million children under the age of five in 2011.  The national campaign will provide the measles vaccine to 2.8 million children, vitamin A to 3.7 million children and deworming tablets to 3.2 million children.  The campaign includes a public health outreach effort to deliver a package of high-impact, low-cost maternal and child survival interventions during the National Mother and Child Health Week in April, 2011. ($3.1 million in 2011).

Bangladesh

Strengthen immunization capacity (Immunization Strengthening Project). Canada will help UNICEF acquire polio and measles vaccine and strengthen Bangladesh's immunization program by improving vaccine storage and training health workers.  The project will also purchase enough oral polio vaccine for 250,000 children annually. ($12 million over two years).

About UNICEF

UNICEF is the world's leading child-focused humanitarian and development agency. Through innovative programs and advocacy work, we save children's lives and secure their rights in virtually every country. Our global reach, unparalleled influence on policymakers, and diverse partnerships make us an instrumental force in shaping a world in which no child dies of a preventable cause. UNICEF is entirely supported by voluntary donations and helps all children, regardless of race, religion or politics. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca.

For further information:

Stefanie Carmichael, Communications Specialist, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8866; Cell: (647) 500-4230, scarmichael@unicef.ca.
Tiffany Baggetta, Director, Communications and Brand, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8892; Cell: (647) 308-4806, tbaggetta@unicef.ca.