POLITICS

Bill Gates to visit Ottawa next week to talk world development with Harper

02/19/2015 01:15 EST | Updated 04/21/2015 05:59 EDT
OTTAWA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper says billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates will visit Ottawa next week to discuss further collaboration on helping mothers and newborns around the world.

Canada has worked with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on a number of projects and Harper says the Feb. 25 visit will further cement the relationship.

The maternal health project, which was launched in June 2010, has been a key development project for Harper and Canada has committed more than $6 billion to the cause.

In May 2014, Harper hosted an international conference on the issue, committing Canada to support maternal and child health initiatives through 2020.

The meetings with Gates next week will aim at ensuring that the issue of mother and child health remains a global priority.

They will also look at creating measurable objectives to stop preventable deaths.

Canada and the foundation also work together on other health and food security issues, including immunization, polio eradication and agricultural development.

"Civil society organizations, including foundations, continue to play a critical role in improving maternal, newborn, and child health around the world," Harper said a statement announcing the visit.

"As a global leader on these issues, Canada has had the opportunity to forge partnerships with dynamic organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, resulting in the pooling of knowledge and resources for the greater good of humanity."