Health and development

Ensuring the health and well-being of all is essential to poverty eradication efforts and achieving sustainable development, contributing to economic growth and prosperous communities. Health is also an inalienable human right according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as good health allows people to reach their full potential, children to be better able to learn, workers to be more productive and parents to care for their children better.

It is also a key indicator of a country’s progress: a nation with a healthy population is more likely to experience sustained growth. Good health is also essential for the stability of entire regions, as pandemics, which transcend borders, can have severe social and economic impacts on families and communities, and can put increased pressure on health systems.

Although global health has improved significantly in recent decades, this benefit has not been shared evenly within and among nations. Several hundred million people across the globe continue to go without basic health services, especially in rural areas and in the most impoverished communities. More than six million children die each year and nearly 300,000 women die in pregnancy or childbirth, many from preventable causes.

For Canada, health has been a long-standing focus of Canada’s development efforts and remains a top priority. Through our engagement in international forums and in advancing critical development issues, Canada is recognized as a leader in global health.

Canada’s efforts are multifaceted, but they all strive to support efforts to address immediate health challenges while building the capacity necessary to sustain and achieve long-term results.

Working with developing countries and development partners, Canada is helping to strengthen health systems to ensure that critical services, medicines, and interventions reach the most vulnerable and the hardest to reach, particularly women and children. Our approach also includes training front-line community health workers and other key personnel, such as midwives.

Partnerships are a key component of Canada’s approach. Working collaboratively with international organizations and Canadian civil society, life-saving vaccinations, nutritional supplements, and other medicines and commodities can be delivered more effectively and efficiently, thus providing communities with the means to prevent and treat leading diseases and illnesses. These include HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia, malnutrition and undernutrition, and other primary causes of mortality and morbidity.

Canada will build on its successes and leadership, in particular, through its activities in:

We also continue to work closely with international organizations such as the World Health Organization; Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria; Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; Nutrition International and many other key partners.

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