PM announces $500-million aid initiative for Africa
Monday, November 26, 2007 > 10:03:54
(Source - CTV News)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced a $500 million health improvement program for Africa on Monday. Harper outlined details of the Canadian-led Initiative to Save a Million Lives during a visit to Tanzania on the final day of his trip to Africa. Of the total $500 million needed to fund the initiative, Canada is donating $105 million, said Harper. Over five years, Canada's contribution will help train about 40,000 frontline health workers in Africa to deliver a wide-ranging list of services. The workers will specifically deliver services such as: Measles and DPT (diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus) shots to prevent deadly communicable diseases Insecticide-treated bednets to protect children under five and pregnant women from malaria Re-hydration therapy to prevent deaths from diarrhea Antibiotics to fight pneumonia Drugs to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS Micronutrients such as vitamin A to fight malnutrition Breastfeeding education for new mothers "These actions are getting real results, including lower rates of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, increased peace and security, stronger economic growth, and better governance," said Harper. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UNICEF, the World Health Organization, the World Bank, and several other countries including Norway are also involved in the initiative. "Once fully implemented, the initiative will save over 500 children's lives daily,'' said Harper. "Canada has the lead role.'' Overall, Canadian funding alone is expected to help save 200,000 lives in Africa. Harper said Canada is on track to double its aid to Africa by 2008-09. But CTV's David Akin, travelling with the prime minister, said Canada is not yet meeting its original global aid targets. "In 2005, MPs... voted to move our level of aid up to 50 cents of every $100 of GDP but in fact just last year Canada only spent 30 cents," he said. Documents obtained by CTV News show that Canada is going to be spending just 29 cents of every $100 of GDP by 2010, said Akin. As a result, some aid organizations may criticize Canada for not doing more, said Akin. Harper made the announcement following a lunch meeting with Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete. Earlier in the day, Harper toured a primary school greeting children and watching them recite the names of animals in English. The prime minister was in Uganda last week for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, which involves member states all linked together by Britain's colonial legacy.