News Column

World Bank President Pledges Financial Support for MDGs Projects

June 2, 2014

Deogratias Mushi

INNOVATION and strong business impulses can be driving factors in reducing maternal and child mortality in the post-2015 development agenda, some experts have said.

Speaking during the final day of Canada's maternal, newborn and child health summit here on Friday, group of experts said the new 3.5 billion US dollars pledged by Canada for post-2015 was important.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said a lot has changed since the world decided on its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000 and now there was an opportunity to come up with a vision on how to fund aid projects that will really stretch people's imagination.

He made the remarks during a panel discussion moderated by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, which also included President Jakaya Kikwete, World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General, Margaret Chan and Dr Rajiv Shah of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Mr Shah praised Canada for taking the lead on an initiative that he described as a "data-driven, business-like, global project to fully end preventable maternal and child death."

"The level of partnership and collaboration represented on stage today exceeds what we have seen in this space and in this sector at any time in the past several decades.

The United States is proud to have followed in your footsteps, following the Muskoka Initiative" he said. On her part, WHO Director General Magreth Chan referred to Grand Challenges Canada, an organisation that funds those who come with ideas combining science, technology and business to deliver concrete results in global health projects.

"These are the kinds of innovative partnerships that we can bring to bear," Chan said, adding that it was the WHO's role to assure quality, safety and efficacy of the products.

She also pointed out accountability in post-recession period of Canada's maternal and child health push since 2010. During the panel discussion, Ms Chan noted that the idea of accountability has only recently become pervasive, appearing in every forum, every meeting and every document signed.

Speaking at the Summit, President Kikwete heaped praise on Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper for his long-standing efforts to tackle the issue of mother-child health around the world.

"I go back home totally satisfied that I have been to a very successful summit, a very useful summit," Mr Kikwete said. President Kikwete said he was excited that from now on there is going to be acceleration and beyond 2015 and the world was going to see more robust interventions to complete the unfinished business.

He also thanked Mr Harper for his commitment to maternal and child health and his promise to galvanise the world community to further support the cause.

Mr Harper is expected to do just that next week when he meets his fellow G7 leaders in Brussels, where he is expected to push for further global support of his efforts to improve maternal, newborn and child health.

"In a world of great knowledge and wealth, no child should die from preventable illness and no mother should lose her life while giving birth -- yet too many women and girls are being left behind," President Kikwete said.

On his part UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, said there was no better investment in the world's future peace and prosperity than the health of women and children.

Much remains to be done, because even one child's death from a preventable cause is one too many, but progress has indeed been made, he added.

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Source: AllAfrica

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