[ SkipToMainMenu ]

Maternal and Child Health

Honourable senators, you may recall that I spoke to you in November regarding my role as the Canadian co-rapporteur for a draft report of the Inter-Parliamentary Union on maternal and child health.

Along with my colleagues from Uganda and India, I presented a report that stressed the role of parliaments in addressing key challenges to securing the health of women and children. The report and the feedback we received from deliberations served as a basis for an IPU resolution that would be considered at the one hundred and twenty-sixth assembly in Kampala, Uganda. At the time, I was looking forward to reporting back to you with the result.

Honourable senators, having recently returned from the one hundred and twenty-sixth assembly, I am pleased to report that the resolution passed unanimously on April 5. Leaders of nearly 120 national parliaments called for all members to take all possible measures to achieve the Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 on maternal and child health by 2015. This is the first time a resolution has been passed in the IPU on the health of women and children.

The resolution was modelled closely on the key messages in our report: that parliamentarians should raise awareness about maternal, newborn and child health, and generate and sustain the political will to achieve the MDGs; that they should introduce and amend relevant legislation and scrutinize the implementation of legislation; and that they should monitor and provide effective oversight of budgetary appropriations, policy commitments and programs.

This is a major achievement for the IPU and for Canada. Canada has significantly supported women and children’s health through the Muskoka initiative, our support to the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health and our Prime Minister’s co-chairmanship of the Commission on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health.

The Canadian Parliament will host the next IPU Assembly in Quebec City this upcoming October. We look forward to supporting and facilitating the implementation of this resolution.

Honourable senators, I would lastly like to mention that this achievement could not have been possible without the support staff of the Canadian Group of the IPU and the Library of Parliament. I thank them for their hard work. Here I must also recognize the IPU for the important work it does in bringing together parliamentarians from all over the world to discuss and find solutions to issues that affect all nations.