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Canada promises 3.5B in new funding for global maternal health

Tom Blackwell (National Post )

The $3.5-billion in new funding for child and maternal health promised by Prime Minister Stephen Harper Thursday will pay for several life-saving measures, including vaccines, training midwives, vitamin A supplements — and birth certificates.

One of the surprising new drives by development agencies trying to prevent millions of children from dying needlessly is to improve the registration of births and deaths, this week’s child and maternal health summit heard.

Keeping such statistics happens with little or no fanfare in the industrialized world. In developing nations, though, the process is often overlooked, with serious consequences.

Babies whose existence is not officially recorded can be more easily ignored by health and school authorities, and exploited by employers or would-be husbands as under-aged workers or brides, speakers at the summit noted.

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