President Obama just returned from the annual G8 Summit, held this year in Canada. In past years, these G8 summits paid lip service to the need to address high child mortality rates – but never made specific, substantial commitments to help save the lives of more than eight million children under five who die every year from preventable causes.
This year, though, the Canadian Government decided to make newborn, child, and maternal health the legacy initiative of Canada’s G8 presidency. UNICEF worked with the Canadian Government in crafting the “G8 Muskoka Initiative on Maternal, Newborn and Under-Five Child Health,” which focuses on training health workers to provide a basket of low-cost, high-impact health and nutrition interventions to the poorest children and mothers in the communities where they live.
It is an important initiative, and one we believe that the U.S. Government should support. Just before the G8 launched this year, the U.S. Fund for UNICEF’s President and CEO, Caryl Stern, led a letter from several major NGOs urging President Obama to support the Canadian initiative – and to show its support by doubling U.S. Government resources to save children’s lives.
It’s all part of our work, from grade school kids to the most powerful person on the planet, to get to Zero.