Toronto:Prime Minister Stephen Harper today reaffirmed Canada’s ongoing commitment to saving the lives of women and children by announcing significant additional support for the Canadian-based Micronutrient Initiative (MI). The Prime Minister made the announcement during a visit to the Kip Carrière Health Post in Bargny, Senegal, on the margins of the 15th Summit of La Francophonie. He was joined by Christian Paradis, Minister of International Cooperation and Minister for La Francophonie, Philippe Beaulne, Canadian Ambassador to the Republic of Senegal, Joel Spicer, President of the MI, and members of the Canadian Maternal Newborn Child Health Network.
Canada’s contribution will help deliver and administer an estimated 400 million vitamin A and zinc supplements per year to children under the age of five. It will also increase the production of iodized salt to reach at least 120 million people each year. This support will also allow the MI to administer iron and folic acid supplements to approximately 80 per cent of pregnant women in the communities targeted by the Initiative, primarily sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
During his visit to the local health facility, the Prime Minister spoke with front-line health workers as well as mothers and children seeking care. He delivered the eight-billionth vitamin A capsule to a local Senegalese child, witnessing first-hand how Canadian investments in nutrition are improving the lives of women and children.
The MI is Canada’s flagship global nutrition organization, working to improve the health and nutritional status of the most vulnerable populations through the delivery of essential vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, iron and folic acid, zinc and oral rehydration solution, and iodized salt in more than 70 countries.
Canada’s contribution to the MI is a core element of the Forward Strategy announced by the Prime Minister at the Saving Every Woman, Every Child: Within Arm’s Reach Summit in Toronto earlier this year.