On May 20th, philanthropist Melinda Gates issued an international call for more funding to help new mothers, newborn babies and young children in developing countries. As Gates highlighted, an unacceptable number of newborn babies are dying in poor countries - deaths that could have been prevented by proven interventions and increased investment. You can watch Gates’ speech below:
Gates’ call for more attention to be paid to this issue is timely. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is hosting a three-day international summit in Toronto starting next week to raise awareness of the issues relating to child, newborn and maternal health in developing countries. The Summit is also expected to focus on immunization and nutrition, two key elements to eliminating these preventable deaths.
Yesterday, while in Geneva to take part in the World Health Assembly, Health Minister Rona Ambrose announced the Innovating for Maternal and Child Health in Africa program. With funding of $36 million over seven years, the program will enable research in nine sub-Saharan African countries to improve the health of mothers, newborns and children. The program will be funded through Canada’s Global Health Research Initiative, a partnership between Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD), the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).
This announcement comes on the heels of a number of funding and program announcements from the Government of Canada on maternal, newborn and child health in the lead up to the Summit, taking place May 28 – 30. You can read more about Canada’s recent global health commitments on the Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development website.
Here at Lilly, we are also dedicated to a number global health initiatives. With the Lilly Global Health Innovation Campaign, for example, we work to increase access to medicines and to improve health for underserved populations. By focusing on advanced research and partnerships with leading global health organizations, the campaign helps us provide the greatest impact possible in improving patient outcomes around the world.