For me and Ellie, who was born at term, kangaroo mother care worked to calm us both down and kick-start our breastfeeding journey. But for moms who don't have access to a hospital, it can take the place of a life-saving incubator. Kangaroo mother care can literally be the difference between life and death for a baby.
When men accompany their partners to prenatal visits and attend at birthing, the women report a much more positive experience, according to our commissioned study, Men Matter. When men share in the housework and rearrange certain duties or workloads to accommodate their pregnant or breastfeeding partners, the couple's relationship strengthens and the household becomes a happier place.
In September, I take up my new responsibilities in Geneva, Switzerland as Canada's Ambassador to the United Nations and the Conference on Disarmament. The UN reflects the dreams and aspirations of not just Canadians but of the world. My new role will allow me to address global challenges from a different perspective than I've had at Plan Canada, but as I prepare to leave I reflect on a few proud accomplishments that bolster my confidence and hope for the future.
I recently travelled more than 6,500 kilometres to see our tax dollars at work. What I saw were lives being saved for less than the cost of a cup of takeout coffee. All Canadians should be proud.
Some six million children under the age of five die every year and there are still nearly 300,000 maternal deaths annually. It all comes down to the political will and necessary funds to make it happen. Canada is a recognized leader in both. In May, Canada committed a further $3.5 billion over five years to help eliminate these unnecessary deaths.
The officials revealed that Prime Minister Stephen Harper was about to announce that Canada would renew its five-year $2.85-billion commitment to saving the lives of mothers, babies, and children who die needlessly from preventable causes around the world every year. After we digested that, there were lots of smiles in the room.
We applaud the Government of Canada's continued efforts to push women's and children's health to the forefront of the global agenda, as the high-level Summit on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health opens in Toronto this week. In far too many many parts of the world, women still struggle to access the health services they need, at an often deadly price.