G-8: One Goal, Different Actions for Better Maternal and Child Health in Developing World

G-8 nations will have the liberty to choose their own contributions to boost child and maternal health in developing nations. Canada has made it clear that it will offer financing for abortion services. Photo by: Nick Cunard / Department for International Development / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Department for International DevelopmentCC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The G-8 development ministers have concurred: Child and maternal health in the developing world needs to be improved. But each G-8 member nation will have to decide itself how to contribute to this initiative.

The group will establish a set of guiding principles to provide flexibility for countries to “build their basket of initiatives,” Canadian International Cooperation Minister Bev Oda said during the closing of the three-day Halifax meeting.

“Other countries will choose different actions in order to address and to support our efforts for better, healthy mothers and better, healthy children and they are free to do that,” Oda was quoted by Thestar.com as saying.

The meeting, which left out abortion funding, focused on improving health systems of poor nations through employment of skilled birth attendants, family planning, immunization and improved nutrition, Oda said. In the meeting’s communique, improving access to safe drinking water, sanitation and gender equality were identified also as key to achieving the goal.

There was no concrete financing pledged by the group during the meeting.

“Where is the money? Promises on maternal and child health, fighting hunger and climate adaptation must be fulfilled with new funds. Unless aid is increased, the world’s poorest women and men will pay the price for the rich world’s financial folly,” according to a statement by Mark Fried, a spokesman for Oxfam Canada. “Canada should reverse the plan to freeze aid.”

The G-8 nations are expected to announce their financial commitments in the Huntsville summit slated for June, Oda said.

About the author

  • Ma. Rizza Leonzon

    As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.