Idea alert

Keith Martin says there’s already a framework for addressing maternal and child health internationally. And, as luck would have it, he helped write it.

Last summer, at the pre-G8 Conference on International Health in Rome, parliamentarians from around the world developed a concrete work plan to reduce maternal mortality called, “Strategic Investments in Times of Crisis.” This was given to the G8 and G20 leaders at their meeting a few days later.

The plan called for strategic investments in people’s access to primary care: basic surgical facilities, medications, a full array of family planning options, diagnostics, adequate nutrition, clean water, power, and most importantly, trained health care workers. With these assets in place, most obstetrical complications could be treated, along with 80 per cent of the medical problems one encounters in the emergency departments of developing countries. This includes major killers like gastroenteritis, which causes 2.2 million deaths per year, pneumonia, 2.1 million, malaria, 2 million, and HIV/AIDS, which claims more than 2 million lives per year.

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