HPIC attending Prime Minister’s Global Summit on Maternal-Child Health

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is hosting an international summit May 28-30 in Toronto to address the health of children, newborns and mothers.

“We are honoured to be invited by our Prime Minister to this event bringing together global leaders and Canadian experts on this issue with the goal of saving every mother and every child,” said HPIC’s President Glen Shepherd.

Maryanne Mutch, HPIC’s Executive Director, Programs, will be representing HPIC at the three-day event. The needs of women and children is a cross-cutting theme in HPIC’s Capacity Building and Access to Medicines project in Kabul, Afghanistan, funded by DFATD. The CBAM project, begun in 2010, is HPIC’s most ambitious and successful initiative. By increasing access to good quality medicines and supplies, HPIC has worked to improve the quality of life for all Afghans, including women and children.

The Afghanistan project had two key strategies. The first was to deliver quality medicines to public hospitals in Kabul as a humanitarian response to pressing needs. The second was to improve long-term access to medicines by working on Afghanistan’s pharmaceutical supply chain.

A year into the CBAM project, HPIC’s Board of Directors identified the health of mothers and children as an overarching priority for the relief and development organization focused on access to medicine.

Since then HPIC has completed a number of projects aimed at reducing child and maternal mortality. In 2012 and 2013, HPIC partnered with the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada to offer life-saving workshops to Zimbabwean doctors and midwives to learn practical skills to save babies and mothers during pregnancy, childbirth and the post-partum period.

In 2013, HPIC helped sponsor the publication of the Neonatal Handbook, intended for Zimbabwean doctors and nurses. This handbook is also available free of charge on HPIC’s website in the hope of placing life-saving knowledge in the hands of healthcare workers in vulnerable communities.

Most recently, HPIC developed the Mother-Child Health Kit. “The purpose of this kit is to put the basic tools and medicines into the hands of frontline health workers to save mothers and babies,” Shepherd said. By the end of 2014, an estimated 160 kits will have been provided to partners in Benin, Haiti, Malawi, Niger, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

“We are looking forward to what will develop from the Prime Minister’s Summit this week,” Shepherd said. “We hope that the issue of maternal and child mortality will remain a global priority. It is within our grasp to do something very impactful for the children of the world: save their mothers.”