Australia Boosts Maternal, Child Health Aid for Pacific Countries

Pacific Islands leaders at the opening ceremony of Pacific Islands Forum in Vanuatu. Australia will give up to 85 million Australian dollars to help improve maternal and child health in the Pacific island countries. Photo by: Office of the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade

Australia is providing up to 85 million Australian dollars (USD78 million) over four years to help improve the health and lives of mothers, infants and children in the Pacific island countries.

Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Stephen Smith announced the grant in a press conference at the conclusion of the Pacific Islands Forum leaders’ meeting. 

Australia’s donation will be coursed through various United Nations agencies including the World Health Organization, U.N. Population Fund and UNICEF. It is expected to help Pacific governments boost their progress in attaining the Millennium Development Goals, particularly targets on improving child health and maternal health and addressing HIV, malaria and other diseases.

The country also pledged to help boost the procurement of medical supplies and improve the countries’ health planning strategies in a bid to improve overall health care delivery in the region, according to a press release from Smith’s office.

Representatives of Pacific island governments met Aug. 5-6 for the 40th Pacific Islands Forum in Cairns, Australia.

The forum was also attended by representatives of Canada and the World Bank, which the forum invited to participate as an observer. In a news release, the Washington-based lender said it is eyeing to invest up to USD240 million in the Pacific over the next three years.

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  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.