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Canada Invests $ 12 Million For Health In Africa


Monday, November 7, 2005, OTTAWA — The Honourable Aileen Carroll, Minister of International Cooperation, today announced that the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) will invest $ 7 million over three years to expand a successful health program in Tanzania. In addition, CIDA will contribute $ 5 million to the World Health Organization to help address the crisis in human resources for health in Africa. The Minister made the announcement during the Canadian Society for International Health’s 12th annual Canadian Conference on International Health.

“ Canada is committed to doing more to support the efforts of developing country partners in Africa to ensure that initiatives to reduce the burden of disease are built on sustainable health systems,” said Minister Carroll. “ African health systems are not only unable to cope with all the people needing help, but health workers themselves are dying from preventable diseases. ”

Today’s announcement is an initial contribution as part of a longer-term and broader strategy to support Africa’s efforts to strengthen its health systems.

The Minister stressed the importance of the donor community coming together to stand behind African efforts to address the human resources gap. “ Working together, what can we and our partners do to support the mobilization and retention of 100 000 additional trained and equipped frontline health care workers ? This is the question I have put to my Agency, ” added Minister Carroll.

The new $ 7 million Tanzania Zonal Rollout of Essential Health Interventions project (ZoRo) builds upon the results of the Canada-funded Tanzania Essential Health Interventions Project (TEHIP) undertaken by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) which was operational from 1997-2004. ZoRo will extend to the rest of Tanzania the health intervention tools that were designed and tested in the two TEHIP districts. These tools have allowed the two districts to target their health resources on the largest contributors to the burden of disease and to improve the efficiency of on-the-ground health care delivery with a view to strengthening health systems overall. Building upon the results outlined in the attached backgrounder, ZoRo will expand coverage nationwide to all 113 health districts.

“ We are delighted that CIDA is investing in strengthening health systems in Tanzania, ” says Maureen O’Neil, President of Canada’s International Development Research Centre. TEHIP -- supported by IDRC and CIDA and undertaken by Tanzanian researchers -- has generated outstanding results, reducing the number of children dying in two districts by more than 40 per cent. It has helped put these districts well on track to meeting or even surpassing the MDG target for reducing child mortality. Thanks to this successful collaboration among Tanzania, IDRC and CIDA, Tanzania is better equipped to continue to strengthen its health system. "

In addition to supporting the Zonal Rollout in Tanzania, CIDA is providing $ 5 million to the World Health Organization (WHO) over five years to help address the critical shortage in human resources for health. Currently, an estimated 750 000 health workers in Africa provide services for some 680 million people. The one million shortage of workers means that people living with HIV/AIDS and other diseases struggle to receive proper care and that many children do not even receive routine immunization. The threat of emerging diseases such as avian flu pose an even greater burden on overtaxed health systems in Africa.

“ Through this generous support to the WHO, CIDA is demonstrating ground-breaking leadership, ” said Dr. Timothy Evans, Assistant Director-General of WHO. “ Attention to and action on the primary constraint to improved health in poor countries - the health worker crisis - is no longer in question. ”

These contributions are part of CIDA’s two-pronged Agenda for Action on Global Health, announced in September 2005. First, Canada is stepping up efforts to prevent and control diseases linked to poverty with a particular focus on reaching children and marginalized populations, and addressing gender inequalities and reproductive health. Second, Canada is working with developing-country partners to help reduce the burden of disease on health systems. Today’s announcement reflects priorities outlined in Canada’s International Policy Statement.

Funding for this initiative was provided for in the February 2005 federal budget, and is therefore built into the existing fiscal framework.


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