Good health means more than not suffering from an illness or disability. It is a complete state of physical, mental and social well-being in which a person's basic needs are met.
Good health allows people to reach their full potential: children in school are better able to learn, workers are more productive, and parents are better able to care for their children.
Over the long term, good health is indispensable to the sustainable economic growth of communities.
According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has the right to a standard of living that is adequate for health.
Good health is also essential for the stability of entire regions, as pandemics, which transcend borders, lead to imbalances in the family and demographic structures of communities and increase pressure on health systems.
While global health has improved significantly in recent decades, this benefit has not been evenly shared within and among nations. Several hundred million people across the globe continue to go without basic health services, especially in rural areas and in the most impoverished communities.
Canada is a key donor for health programs in the developing world, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. It works with a large number of partners, including the following:
As part of its Children and Youth Strategy for developing countries, Canada focuses primarily on child survival and maternal health and works to:
These measures will translate into better health for mothers and higher survival rates for children under the age of five, reduced deaths from infectious diseases, and country health systems that better meet the health needs of mothers and of children.
Since the year 2000, Canada has also introduced key initiatives to support the three Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) directly focused on health: reduce child mortality (MDG 4), improve maternal health (MDG 5) and combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases (MDG 6).