G8 Pledges to Improve Maternal and Child Health

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The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) and the Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS) held a panel discussion Wednesday to assess the global health outcomes of the G8 and G20 summits held in Canada last month, where world leaders pledged to reduce maternal and child mortality through the Muskoka Initiative for Maternal and Child Health.

Participants discussed the financial commitments made by G8 nations to reach Millennium Development Goals (MDG) 4 and 5, which deal with reducing child mortality and improving maternal health, respectively. HIV/AIDS was not addressed. Panelists included Jennifer Kates of the Kaiser Family Foundation and J. Stephen Morrison of CSIS. They were joined by Leonard Edwards, the Canadian Prime Minister’s Personal Representative to the G8 and G20 summits, and by Mark Abdoo, Director for Global Health and Food Security on the White House National Security staff.

G8 members committed to contributing an additional $5 billion for the next five years, which will be used to strengthen country-led national health systems in developing countries. Funding will enable delivery on key interventions along the continuum of care, from pre-pregnancy to early childhood.

G8 leaders anticipate that the Muskoka Initiative will mobilize more than $10 billion over the next five years. Already the governments of the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the Republic of Korea, Spain, and Switzerland have collectively pledged $800,000, while the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged $1.5 billion over the next five years.

In the past, the global health focus of the G8 has been on reducing the prevalence of HIV/AIDS. However, G8 members have fallen way short of their commitments. In 2005, G8 nations pledged to achieve full universal access to HIV/AIDS treatment by 2010, and pledged to expand HIV/AIDS budgets by $50 million by this year. Jeffrey Sachs, special advisor to the UN Secretary General on the MDG, reports that G8 nations have fallen $30 million short on their pledge.

In 2007 in Norway, G8 leaders pledged $1.8 billion to achieve universal access for children to HIV/AIDS treatment by 2010. UNICEF estimates that an additional $649 million is needed to meet their pledge.

HIV/AIDS is the leading killer of women of reproductive age worldwide. The G8 pledged to reduce the number of maternal deaths by 64,000 in the next five years. However, that goal cannot be achieved without integrating HIV/AIDS care into maternal health frameworks. HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment must be included in all discussions of improving maternal and child health, or else the goals set out will not be achieved and the G8 will continue to fail to meet their commitments.

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  1. Pingback: G8 Pledges to Improve Maternal and Child Health « Science Speaks: HIV & TB News | myezpharmacy

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