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Canadian Prime Minister Says He’s Open To Including Contraception In G8 Plan For Improving Maternal, Child Health

“Facing a squall of condemnation from aid groups and opposition politicians,” following statements by Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon that Canada’s G8 maternal and child health initiative would not include family planning, Prime Minister Stephen Harper “disavowed his foreign minister Thursday, promising that the federal government would include contraception programs in its maternal-health foreign-aid initiative,” the Globe and Mail reports.

Recent Releases In Global Health

Lancet Study Finds Level Of HIV Services For IDUs ‘Is Poor In Many Countries’ A Lancet study performed a systematic review of HIV prevention and treatment services targeting injecting drug users (IDUs) globally based on the availability of “core interventions for IDUs: needle and syringe programmes (NSPs), opioid substitution therapy (OST) and other drug…

Family Planning Will Not Be Included In Canada’s G8 Maternal Health Initiative, Foreign Minister Says

“Canada’s ‘signature’ initiative at June’s G8 summit – a strategy to improve the health of mothers and young children in poor countries” will not include family planning programs, Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon said on Tuesday, the Globe and Mail reports. Cannon said the initiative “does not deal in any way, shape or form with family planning. Indeed, the purpose of this is to be able to save lives.”

‘Quiet Corruption’ Impedes African Development, World Bank Report Says

What the World Bank has dubbed “quiet corruption” in it’s Africa Development Indicators 2010 report (.pdf) could be as significant a threat to the continent’s development “as the graft scandals that frequently dominate newspaper headlines,” Bloomberg/BusinessWeek reports (McGregor/Seria, 3/15).

GAVI Calls Meeting With Existing, Potential Donors

The GAVI Alliance has “asked existing and potential donors to a meeting in The Hague on March 25 and 26 to challenge them to ‘make a strong impact’ on childhood death rates,” Reuters reports. “GAVI, which is supported by the World Health Organization, the World Bank, UNICEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and vaccine makers, says it has 40 percent of the $7 billion it needs between now and 2015 to help” immunize of millions of children in developing countries by 2015, according to the news service.

With full funding GAVI “will be able to fully roll out pentavalent vaccine” – which protects against hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and Hib – “and introduce new vaccines against pneumococcal disease and rotavirus diarrhea in over 40 countries,’ [GAVI] said in a statement. ‘These last two vaccines alone can save one million children by 2015,'” reports Reuters.

“Britain last week pledged 150 million pounds over the next 10 years for GAVI’s core funding, a move the group’s deputy chief executive Helen Evans said she hoped others would follow,” Reuters writes. “This is the first sovereign donor to have made a 10-year commitment to GAVI, and that really helps because it builds predictability into funding … and actually helps to shape the market for vaccines,” Evans said (Kelland, 3/15).

Clinton Delivers Speech At U.N. Women’s Meeting As Conference Closes

“Calling the subjugation of women a threat to American security, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary [Rodham] Clinton made a vibrant plea to give equal rights to women around the world,” during a speech a the U.N. on Friday, Agence France-Presse reports. Clinton’s remarks came on the final day of a two-week international women’s conference that examined the progress made in women’s rights since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.

More Focus On Reaching MDGs Needed, Development Officials Say

During a conference in London Thursday, development officials urged world leaders to “accelerate efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 and [said] rich countries must make good on promises to boost aid to poorer nations,” Reuters AlertNet reports.

Recent Releases In Global Health

Lancet Comment Asks: What’s Next For Global Fund? Reflecting on the recent annual report by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a Lancet comment writes, “Two big challenges remain [for the Global Fund]: first, to show, reliably and independently, that the Fund’s investments have delivered the benefits that it…

Former President Clinton, Bill Gates Encourage U.S. Global Health Investment At Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing

Former President Bill Clinton and Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said Wednesday at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing “that U.S. investments in fighting [HIV/]AIDS, malaria and other diseases in underdeveloped nations save lives and play a vital role in improving America’s image abroad,” the Associated Press reports.