Government of Canada

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

The Muskoka Initiative

Spotlight on Results — Maternal, Newborn and Child Health

These are selected highlights of the results CIDA has achieved with country partners. For more details, see the country reports.

World Map Haiti Mali Nigeria Sudan Ethiopia Tanzania Malawi Mozambique Afghanistan Bangladesh  
  • Afghanistan: 1,400 health workers trained
  • Bangladesh: 1.4 million children treated for infections and diarrhea
  • Ethiopia: malaria deaths cut by half
  • Haiti: 18% more children immunized against measles, rubella, and polio
  • Malawi: 3,000 health workers trained
  • Mali: nearly 60% more people living near health clinics
  • Mozambique: 17,385 children treated against AIDS
  • Nigeria: 15,000 mothers with fewer pregnancy problems
  • Sudan: 110 health facilities built or renovated
  • Tanzania: 4,600 health facilities improved

"It's a very worrying thing for a mother: when you are pregnant you think, 'how am I going to deliver? What will happen to me? Will I survive?' You worry when you have no money, not even for transport to get to a clinic. It is very hard for a mother when there is not a clinic like this one around."

Junent, 29-year-old mother of five and beneficiary of the CIDA-funded "Stock a Medical Clinic" in Zambia, who worries about giving birth to her youngest daughter, Sarah, because of previous birthing complications.

In June 2010, under Prime Minister Stephen Harper's leadership, the leaders of the G-8 nations endorsed the Muskoka Initiative on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH), which aims to save the lives of women and children in developing countries. Other nations and organizations joined in this initiative, together committing US$7.3 billion in new funding over five years.

Under the Muskoka Initiative, Canada committed $1.1 billion in new and additional funding between 2010 and 2015 while maintaining existing MNCH programming at $1.75 billion over five years—for a total contribution of $2.85 billion.

Recognizing Canada's leadership in maternal, newborn, and child health, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon named Prime Minister Stephen Harper co-chair of the United Nations Commission on Information and Accountability for Women's and Children's Health along with President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania. The commission aims to put accountability for results at the core of the global and country-level efforts to ensure commitments made to the Global Strategy are translated into tangible, long-term results for women and children.

In the fall of 2011, the commission officially released its report.

Over the next five years, the G-8 will work with multiple partners to assist developing countries to prevent the deaths of 1.3 million children under five years of age, prevent the deaths of 64,000 mothers, and give 12 million couples access to family planning.

Canada's contribution to the Muskoka Initiative focuses on improving nutrition, reducing the burden of disease, and strengthening health systems to deliver integrated and comprehensive health services for mothers and children at the local level, where the need is greatest.

Following the launch of the Muskoka Initiative in June 2010, Canada took decisive actions with its maternal, newborn, and child health partners, achieving sustainable and meaningful results for mothers and children in developing countries.

Canada now delivers programs under the Muskoka Initiative in a number of partner countries with high maternal and child mortality. In September 2011 the Government of Canada announced almost $800 million in Muskoka funding for 51 projects in 26 countries in Africa, the Americas, and Asia.

CIDA supports more than fifty Muskoka Initiative projects through partnerships with countries, multilateral institutions, global organizations, and Canadian partners.

For example, in partnership with CARE Canada, more than 4,500 pregnant and lactating mothers and more than 9,000 children under the age of five in Ethiopia and Zimbabwe benefit from improved nutrition as well as improved access to nutrition and health services, including antenatal clinics.

In Afghanistan, Canada works with the World Bank to help the Ministry of Public Health deliver basic health services. The project focuses on increasing access to, and use of, health services for women and children in underserved areas. It trains community health practitioners; pays for the supplies, equipment, and other costs to run health facilities; strengthens the Ministry's ability to manage, monitor, and evaluate the national health system; and improves the referral system between community and hospital care.

In Haiti, Canada works with the United Nations Population Fund to reconstruct Haiti's National School of Midwifery and 10 new maternity clinics. The project offers a full range of maternal and neonatal services, such as basic emergency obstetrical and neonatal care, family planning, the prevention of and testing for HIV/AIDS, and services for victims of sexual violence.

Although the full outcomes of these and other projects will occur in the longer term, Canada's investments in maternal, newborn, and child health already improve community health care services, reduce the burden of illness and disease among women and children, and improve nutrition.

The Story Behind the Results

Two women and a child standing in front of a building. © ACDI-CIDA/Chloé Baudry

A Wave of New Health Workers in Mozambique

This young mother and her son visit the clinic in Maputo for regular check-ups.

A partnership between the University of Saskatchewan and Mozambique's Ministry of Health established the Massinga Centre for Continuing Education in Health, located in rural Mozambique. Supported by CIDA, the centre trains community health workers such as Leta Munisse, 27, to become health professionals in maternal, child, and public health.

"I know our difficulties, so in order to help my family, my community, and my country I applied to become a health worker," she says.

After completing her two-and-a-half years of training, Leta now works at a health centre in Maputo city, where she helps mothers and children stay healthy. She also promotes good hygiene practices such as washing hands and drinking only clean water, in order to prevent cholera and diarrhea—the leading causes of death in young children.

With CIDA's assistance, the Massinga Centre for Continuing Education in Health graduated 27 women and 21 men in preventative medicine between 2009 and 2010. The centre also provided continuing education to 18 practising health workers.

''I sincerely hope that other countries will also follow the Canadian example.''

Ban Ki-moon
United Nations