At the opening of the G8 Summit, the Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, made a huge pledge of $1.1 billion over five years in new funding for maternal and child health. That brings the total Canada has pledged to almost $3 billion over five years.
We know what it takes to save the lives of the 350,000 – 500,000 women who die every year from complications due to pregnancy and childbirth. And, we know what it costs: $12 billion in additional funding every year. Providing each pregnant woman in the developing world with quality, lifesaving care would cost an average of only $123. If all of the Canadian money was dedicated to quality care, we’d be able to save almost 9 million mothers!
We’re waiting to hear if other nations… ahem, Obama… will match or surpass Canada’s pledge toward maternal health. Looking at the “family photo” of the leaders of the G8, it’s not surprising that women haven’t been at the forefront of the development agenda before. Count the women you see in that photo: 1. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is the only woman at the G8 table. Hopefully, she’ll be able to stand for the women and mothers who have to overcome serious barriers to give birth safely.
But, the problem with any of these commitments is that it’s a promise. And promises can be broken. What we need more than promises, is progress. That means that you, and me, and all the women of the world need to hold our governments accountable to make sure their words are truly turned into action.
Want to add your own funds to the Canadian pledge? Click here to see how you can get involved and all the great organizations you can donate to.