Group urges G8 not to cherry-pick on maternal-health
Prime Minister Stephen Harper responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, June 8, 2010. (Adrian Wyld / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, June 9, 2010 1:38PM EDT
OTTAWA - The head of an international donor group is coming to Canada with a message for the G8: don't cherry-pick when it comes to funding maternal and child health.
The appeal comes after the Harper government's controversial decision not to spend its development dollars on abortion as part of its signature G8 plan.
Canada hosts the G8 summit this month in Huntsville, Ont., and has championed the plan to bring basic health services to the poorest of pregnant women and children, mostly in Africa.
The Conservatives say Canada's money would be better spent on other areas, such as training frontline health workers, nutrition, treatment and prevention of diseases such as pneumonia, malaria and AIDS, as well as clean water and sanitation.
But Michel Kazatchkine, executive director of the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, says he doesn't think donor countries should get to pick and choose which child- and maternal-health initiatives get funded and which don't.
Kazatchkine will be in Toronto on Thursday to speak at the University of Toronto and later in the city's financial district about HIV and human rights.
The Global Fund came out of 2001's G8 summit in Italy as a vehicle to pay for development programs in the world's poorest nations.
Kazatchkine says the fund needs to be topped up if it is to continue its development work. He says the fund is seeking between $13 billion and $20 billion from 2011-13.