Newborn, child and maternal health solutions bring economic benefits for developing countries, Asia Pacific region

  • World Vision applauds the Australian Government’s ongoing commitment to newborn, child and maternal health.
  • Next week’s budget is the perfect opportunity to lead by example in the Asia Pacific region and increase funding for child and maternal health solutions that can save tens of thousands of lives.

International aid and development agency World Vision has applauded the Australian Government’s ongoing commitment to child and maternal health, after Parliamentary Secretary for International Development, Bob McMullan, launched a report encouraging developing nations to invest heavily in child and maternal health.

Launched at the Asian Development Bank meeting in Bali, the report –Investing in Maternal, Newborn and Child Health – clearly demonstrates the enormous economic benefits of tackling maternal and childhood deaths.

“Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 (related to child and maternal health) are lagging badly. The goal to reduce maternal deaths by three quarters is only nine percent achieved,” said Mr Costello, World Vision Australia chief executive.

“For developing countries this report makes a compelling case for investing in the achievement of these goals as a matter of national interest. A prosperous Asia Pacific neighbourhood is also beneficial for Australia. Therefore it only makes sense that Australia’s aid budget is also geared towards reducing newborn, child and maternal deaths.”

Australia currently spends just 13 percent of its aid budget on health. In comparison, Ireland spends 34 percent, the United States spends 32 percent, and Canada 30 percent.

“In Australia's immediate region, 34,000 mothers and 400,000 children die annually. The solutions to child and maternal deaths are well known, proven and cost effective. In the 2009-2010 Budget, World Vision is calling for $390 million in funding for the provision of the health services necessary to improve child and maternal health. This would save tens of thousands of lives in our region,” said Mr Costello.

“The government has publicly committed to cooperating to achieve demonstrable reductions in maternal mortality – we hope that commitment is reflected in next week’s budget.”

Media enquiries: Dominic McInerney on (03) 9287 2257 or 0428 584 809

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