Government of Canada

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

The Catalytic Initiative to Save a Million Lives

The Catalytic Initiative to Save a million Lives is an international multidonor partnership with the goal of reducing child and maternal mortality. This initiative strengthens health systems to implement efficient and cost-effective health and nutritional activities for children and pregnant women.

Canada works in partnership with the following donor agencies in support of the Catalytic Initiative:

Overall, the Catalytic Initiative partners use a variety of programmatic approaches to accelerate the achievement of two Millennium Development Goals (MDGs): reduce child mortality (MDG 4) and improve maternal health (MDG 5) in a number of countries. Some countries are funded by only one donor partner, while others have multiple-donor support. The Catalytic Iinitiative targets the following developing countries (the countries marked with an * receive support from Canada for this initiative):

Canada's Contribution to the Catalytic Initiative

Mother holds sick toddler © UNICEF/Emidio Machiana
Two-and-a-half-year-old Maria in seen by a UNICEF-supported health worker in Mozambique.

Canada is contributing to the Catalytic Initiative by providing $105 million in funding (2007-2013) to the Integrated Health Systems Strengthening in Africa project, a project implemented by UNICEF. This project is a major component of the Africa Health Systems Initiative announced at the 2006 G-8 Summit, representing a total investment of $450 million.

This project supports sub-Saharan African countries to train and equip front-line health workers to provide proven and affordable services to children and pregnant women, such as:

  • immunization to prevent the spread of deadly infectious diseases;
  • insecticide-treated bed nets to protect children under the age of five and pregnant women from malaria;
  • rehydration therapies to prevent deaths caused by diarrhea;
  • administration of antibiotics to treat pneumonia;
  • administration of drugs to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS;
  • distribution of micronutrients such as vitamin A to combat malnutrition; and
  • teaching of breastfeeding techniques to young mothers.

UNICEF also works with developing-country governments to improve the coordination and integration of health systems, and to strengthen health surveillance and information systems.

The project supports the development of integrated community case management (ICCM) programs, where community health workers deliver services at the community level to combat the three main killers of children younger than the age of five: malaria, diarrhea, and pneumonia.

For information about how Canada supports the ICCM programs in Mali and Niger, watch UNICEF-produced videos that demonstrate the community benefits of these programs.

Results Achieved to Date

Canadian funding is making a difference. Here are a few examples:

  • More than 53,000 front-line health workers have been trained to deliver services to women and children, including more than 30,000 community health workers who have been fully trained to deliver integrated community case management services to treat children suffering from malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia in their communities.
  • More than 5.5 million treatments have been provided to children younger than the age of five who suffer from the three main childhood diseases: malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia, including more than 3.1 million treatments for malaria, 1.2 million treatments for suspected pneumonia, and 1 million treatments for diarrhea.
  • With Canada's support, the following commodities have been procured:
    • more than 4.7 million bed nets that are used as a preventative measure against malaria;
    • more than 16 million antimalarial tablets to treat children younger than five for malaria and 12,500 rapid diagnostic tests for malaria;
    • more than 35 million sachets of oral rehydration salts (ORS) and more than 25 million zinc tablets to treat children younger than five for diarrhea; and
    • more than 25 million antibiotic tablets to treat children younger than five for suspected pneumonia.

These initiatives are central to addressing one of Canada's priority themes for international development: securing the future of children and youth. They are also a key element in Canada's efforts to improve maternal, newborn and child health. To find out more about these initiatives and other malaria control projects supported by Canada, consult the International Development Project Browser.