REACH Extended to Fight Global Child Hunger and Under-nutrition

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By A Correspondent

On May 13, on behalf of the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State (Foreign Affairs and Consular Services), announced an additional $5 million for the Renewed Efforts Against Child Hunger and Under-nutrition (REACH) project which will enable REACH to work in more developing countries that have high rates of under-nutrition.  

Minister Yelich highlighted Canada's leadership role in promoting the health of women, newborns and children in developing countries. The Scaling-Up Nutrition – REACH Expansion project will support country-led efforts to carry out nutrition activities to improve health and reduce the deaths of the most vulnerable mothers and children in countries that have joined the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement.

Improving the health of mothers, newborns and children and reducing the number of preventable deaths are Canada's top development priority. That is why, following the significant progress made through 2010's Muskoka Initiative, the Prime Minister is once again taking action to mobilize the world. In Toronto, May 28-30, 2014, Canada will host Saving Every Woman Every Child: Within Arm's Reach, an international summit that will build on Canada's leadership and shape the future of global action on maternal and child health issues.

"Together, in collaboration with our valuable partners like REACH, the global drive to improve maternal and child health will accelerate even further at the Summit," said Minister Yelich. "Canada will continue to save lives and improve the health of mothers and children in the developing world by helping countries fight under-nutrition more effectively."

REACH is a coordinating mechanism of four United Nations organizations: the World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). REACH delivers a coordinated approach to good governance and institutional capacity building that ensures more effective and coherent food and nutrition action.

"Canada's generous contribution shows leadership and determination to address the burden of child and maternal under-nutrition," said Nancy Walters, REACH Global Coordinator. "These additional funds will help improve the nutritional status of millions of women and their children, and brighten their prospects for good health and well-being in the future."

"The Canadian government's new investment in the REACH nutrition program will help support countries implement proven, low-cost and highly effective interventions that save the lives of mothers, newborns and children," said David Morley, UNICEF Canada's President and CEO. "These interventions include ensuring good nutrition during pregnancy, promoting breastfeeding and good complementary feeding, preventing and treating micronutrient deficiencies and promoting good sanitation and access to safe drinking water."

Maternal, newborn and child health is Canada's top development priority. Thanks to the Muskoka Initiative and subsequent global action, maternal mortality rates are declining and millions more children are celebrating their fifth birthday.

"When children are well fed, they can grow up to lead healthy and productive lives; in turn, their families, their communities and ultimately, their country, can grow stronger as well," said Minister Paradis. "Canada's support of the REACH Expansion project shows our continued commitment to the Scaling Up Nutrition movement, supporting developing countries to ensure increased access to food and nutrition."

Reducing under-nutrition across the developing world is critical to ensuring the health of mothers, newborns and children, and is an important component of the Muskoka Initiative.  Further discussions on this important topic will figure prominently at the Summit later this month.

Quick Facts

·       On April 28, 2014, the Prime Minister announced that Canada will host Saving Every Woman Every Child: Within Arm's Reach, an international Summit on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health issues.

·       The Summit, to be held from May 28 to 30, 2014, in Toronto, will build on Canada's leadership and bring together Canadian and international leaders and experts, Canadian charities, businesses, scientists, developed and developing countries, international organizations and global foundations to ensure that maternal, newborn and child health remains a priority of the global development agenda.

·       Under-nutrition is a contributing cause of more than three million deaths of children under the age of five, and of thousands of maternal deaths each year. Millions more children can face permanent physical and mental disabilities as a result of poor diet and a high prevalence of infections and disease.

·       The causes of maternal and under-five child mortality in developing countries are largely preventable with increased access to a list of proven, affordable and cost-effective solutions that most Canadians take for granted.

·       Progress is being made. The number of women who die each year during pregnancy or childbirth has dropped by 47% – from 543,000 deaths in 1990 to 287,000 in 2010.

·       The global number of deaths in children under the age of five has also dropped by 45% from nearly 12 million in 1990 to 6.6 million in 2012.

·       Canada is the lead donor to the REACH initiative. On May 27, 2011, Prime Minister Harper announced Canada's commitment of $15 million over three years to support the REACH project as part of the Muskoka Initiative on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health.

·       In addition, on June 8, 2013 at the Nutrition for Growth: Beating Hunger through Business and Science meeting in London, England, Canada announced $145 million in funding toward a package of new nutrition initiatives.

·       Canada is providing $2.85 billion between 2010 and 2015 under the Muskoka Initiative to save the lives of women and children in developing countries.

·       Canada is on track to meeting its Muskoka commitment, with 80 percent of the funding already disbursed.

Related Products

·       Backgrounder – Expanding the REACH

·       Address by Minister Yelich on behalf of Minister Paradis: Funding for REACH Expansion

Associated Links

·       Project Browser: Scaling Up Nutrition - REACH

·       Photo Gallery: Canada and REACH are Securing the Future of Children and Women

·       Nutrition

·       Saving Every Woman Every Child Summit – Official web site

·       News Release: PM Announces details of Saving Every Woman Every Child Summit

·       Improving the Lives of Women and Children: Maternal Newborn and Child Health

·       Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health

·       PM convenes Canadian experts and global leaders in maternal, newborn and child health

JULY 2018

Vol. 12 - No. 12


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