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Oh Canada! It’s Good News for Maternal Health

By: Janna Oberdorf, Communications Manager for Women Deliver

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper committed $1.1 billion in new spending over five years for maternal and child health programs in poor countries, bringing total spending to almost $3 billion, today at the G8 summit.

Canada already devotes $1.75 billion for existing programs to maternal health over the next five years, meaning the additional funds will bring the total mix of new and existing funds to $2.85-billion.

LIVE BLOG: Follow Along as We Liveblog the G8/G20

Click through to follow the liveblog updates!

Accountability a Key Issue for the G8/G20 and Beyond

By: Janna Oberdorf, Communications Manager for Women Deliver

“You need to keep your doors open to speak to us. You are accountable to the people who elected you,” Lysa John from the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP) told the leaders of the G8 at a press conference for the Make Poverty History campaign this morning.

Accountability is a key issue in both this year’s G8/G20 summits, and in the larger context of providing the essential services to all women in developing countries to meet MDG5 by 2015. In order to truly reduce maternal deaths, governments need to follow through on the promises they’ve made at previous international and national summits. As civil society, we need to keep watch. Governments and the international community must commit to developing better monitoring and accountability mechanisms and channels for community engagement that address all the many barriers to maternal and newborn health care if we are going to make progress.

A Tragedy That Doesn’t Have to Happen

By: Agnes Odhiambo, originally posted on The Huffington Post

Nairobi -- Nineteen-year-old Christine Nyaboke became pregnant in 2005. She was in labor for three days at home with a traditional birth attendant because her mother had no money to take her to hospital. She had a stillbirth, and later discovered that her body was painfully damaged. Nyaboke, not her real name, had a fistula, a severe childbirth injury that leaves its victims constantly leaking urine and feces. As a result, she was shunned and abused by former friends and others in her community. She could not leave home for social events, to look for work or even to go to church. She became depressed and contemplated suicide.

She was just one of the more than 50 women and girls I interviewed late last year who suffered obstetric fistula. Unless it is surgically repaired, it ruins their lives. With the G-8 planning to discuss maternal health at its summit meeting this week in Canada, I can't help but think of how these girls' and women's lives would not have been torn apart if they had access to appropriate health care, including family planning services, at the time of their pregnancy and childbirth.

Five Action Steps To Take for the G8/G20

This week, G8 and G20 leaders will meet to discuss how to best spend international aid in order to meet development goals.  We know the answer: Women are at the heart of the MDGs, and investing in women pays. Make your voice heard!  Click through to read five action steps you can take.

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