Canada Takes Huge Step in Fighting Ebola – But Action Must Be Swift

Today in Ottawa, Canada announced $20.9 million for the Ebola response, bringing its total commitment to $113.5 million, representing a significant and much-needed contribution to the fight against the Ebola outbreak. Additionally Canada committed 40 military personnel and urged Canadian health workers to contribute their expertise on the ground in the devastated region. This announcement comes as Prime Minister Harper and a Canadian delegation travel to Senegal for La Francophonie where Ebola will be at the forefront of international dialogue.

Canada’s commitment makes it one of the leading donors in terms of pledges. We encourage the government to continue to ensure that the funds are disbursed quickly so that the lives of those currently infected are saved and further spread of the disease is prevented. The Canadian Network for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health encourages the government to work closely with Canadian health care providers and emergency responders to ensure that Canada can quickly scale up our presence on the ground. The Canadian Network is pleased to see Canada at the forefront of global discussions, with Minister Paradis convening international players in Senegal to take real action on strengthening health systems and build resiliency to prevent future epidemics.

While the current epidemic requires urgent response, the global community must also commit to address the underlying causes of this outbreak, namely weak health systems. The Ebola epidemic has tragically demonstrated the repercussions of insufficient investment in comprehensive health services. Many of those affected by the Ebola outbreak are the most vulnerable members of society: mothers, newborns and children. Progress on maternal and infant mortality is being rapidly reversed in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Recent UN projections tell us that 800,000 women will give birth in Ebola-affected countries in the next 12 months, with up to 120,000 women expected to face life-threatening complications during childbirth and delivery. The global community must commit the resources necessary to fighting the Ebola outbreak, while at the same time working with the affected governments to ensure that the health systems are built back stronger.

The Canadian Network applauds Canada’s significant announcement, and calls on the leaders of La Francophonie to take concrete steps to ensure that a health emergency on this scale never happens again. All African Union countries must be encouraged to increase their health investments so health systems can be strong and communities can be protected – both against future epidemics and against everyday emergencies like those faced regularly by mothers, newborns and children.

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The Canadian Network for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health is a collaboration of over 80 organizations working to save lives of the most vulnerable women and children in over 1,000 communities globally. For more information about the network, visit


For more information, media should contact:

Irene Whittaker-Cumming: 647-648-6219

[email protected]



November 27, 2014