CanWaCH Written Submission for the Pre-Budget Consultations in Advance of the 2019 Budget

The Canadian Partnership for Women and Children’s Health (CanWaCH) is pleased to submit this overview as part of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance pre-budget consultation process. CanWaCH continues to work with its members and sector partners to fully articulate this vision in a more detailed investment case. We invite the opportunity to share this additional background by contacting us at [email protected].


Written Submission for the Pre-Budget Consultations in Advance of the 2019 Budget

By The Canadian Partnership for Women and Children’s Health (CanWaCH)

List of Recommendations:

Recommendation 1: That the Government undertake an integrated, ‘non-siloed’ policy approach to global health programming for women and children that reflects a comprehensive package of interventions across a woman’s lifecycle, encompassing Canada’s suite of expertise in newborn, child, adolescent and women’s health and nutrition, and reproductive health – which includes sexual and maternal health.

Recommendation 2: That, in order to maintain Canada’s leadership in global health and as part of overall increases to the International Assistance Envelope (IAE), the Government, beginning in 2020, renew funding for women and children’s health programming and increase the annual investment by $400-million per year to a total annual investment of $1.4-billion.

Recommendation 3: That the Government increase Canada’s spending on global development and humanitarian assistance over 10 years, through predictable 15% annual increases to the International Assistance Envelope (IAE).

Canada is a leader in women and children’s health … let’s become a world champion

The right to health, as part of our Canadian identity, has fuelled our proud tradition of taking a leadership role in advancing the health and wellbeing of the world’s most marginalized people. Canada’s leadership in global health draws upon the collective efforts and expertise of governments, civil society organizations, research institutions, medical practitioners and more.

Our core strengths are in health interventions that target women and children and in addressing the inequities that prevent women and girls from reaching their potential. This means that Canada is ideally positioned to support the global effort to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). But we need to do more.

Who is CanWaCH?

Established in 2011, we are a proud membership of 100 Canadian non-governmental organizations (NGOs), academic institutions and health professional associations working together so that more women and children survive and thrive around the world.

Building upon Canadian values, we are calling for sustained and increased investment in maternal, newborn and child health and sexual and reproductive health and rights into a comprehensive package of interventions across a woman’s lifecycle. With a combination of determination, collaboration and investment, we can become a champion in advancing the lives of women and children.

Why Now?

Every year, in 50 countries across the world more than 5 million mothers, children, and adolescents die from mostly preventable conditions, and the economies of these countries lose billions of dollars to poor health and nutrition. Federal funding that supports Canadian global health programming is set to sunset in 2020. CanWaCH members are working with governments and other stakeholders to help ensure Canada can continue to take the lead on women and children’s health. As Canada prepares to welcome the world to the Women Deliver Conference in June 2019, we think now is the perfect time to demonstrate our leadership in empowering the world’s most marginalized people and inspire other nations to follow the Canadian example.

Why Women and Children? The Thrive Agenda

CanWaCH advances the Thrive Agenda for Every Woman, Every Child, Everywhere. The Thrive Agenda starts with women as empowered agents of change and works across the lifecycle to ensure that every woman and every girl has the health and wellbeing interventions necessary to realize her full potential. World over – women and children are left out. Left out of the basics: health care, education and nutrition. This means they are also not included in the economy, in decision making spaces and in other critical systems. Can you imagine a world where we all have a seat at the table?

Women and children do not experience health in compartments and silos and so the Thrive Agenda does not silo health interventions into categories but focuses on a comprehensive continuum of care and access to care that meets a variety of life stages, contexts and settings. It means deploying the full range of interventions in Canada’s suite of expertise in newborn, child, adolescent and women’s health and nutrition, and, for women and girls, their reproductive health – which includes sexual and maternal health – throughout their lives.

The Thrive Agenda also seeks to leave no one behind … anywhere. In humanitarian settings, at least 75 percent of those displaced are women, adolescents and children and more than half of all maternal, newborn and child deaths occur in humanitarian settings. The Thrive Agenda accepts that while it costs more to reach those in the most desperate and fragile humanitarian settings, those lives cannot be overlooked.

Issues and interventions throughout the lifecycle

Interventions throughout the lifecycle


  • 2.7 million newborn infants die each year at birth.
  • One in five infants (19.4 million children) miss out on basic vaccines needed to stay healthy.
  • 45 percent of neonatal deaths occur in conflict, displacement, and natural disasters.


  • Each day 15,00 children die before their fifth birthday, many from preventable causes such as pneumonia, diarrhea and malnutrition.
  • More than 3 million girls, most under age five, are at risk for Female Genital Mutilation annually.


  • For girls aged 15-19 globally, pregnancy and childbirth complications are the second leading cause of death.
  • 300 million adolescent girls suffer basic nutritional deficiencies. Anemia is the leading cause of disability for adolescent girls, affecting 180 million adolescent girls worldwide
  • 130 million girls, most aged 15-17, are not in school. Inadequate school washroom facilities for menstrual hygiene are key factors.
  • 280 million girls are at risk to become child brides.


  • Every two minutes a woman dies from pregnancy or childbirth-related complications.
  • 74 million unintended pregnancies occur in developing countries annually due to lack of access to contraceptives or contraceptive failure.
  • 35% of women globally experience physical and/or sexual violence by a partner or sexual violence by a non-partner. Sexual and gender-based violence is higher in emergency and humanitarian settings.

What will it take? 

We must expand beyond survival towards a collective, integrated movement that enables women and children to ‘THRIVE’.

Survive and Thrive

We CAN Make a Difference

Integrated approach: if full care for all pregnant women and newborns were combined with full provision of modern contraception to women who want to avoid pregnancy, maternal deaths would drop by 73% and newborn deaths would drop by 80% per year.

5 to 6 million lives can be saved and economic benefits of between $US80-100 billion could be realized by Immunizing 300 million children over 5 years.

Improving the physical, mental and sexual health of adolescents aged 10-19 years, at $4.60 per person per year, brings 10 times the economic benefits, prevents 12 million adolescent deaths and over 30 million unwanted pregnancies.

Lack of access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) can impact Gross Domestic Product by up to 7% and blocks women and girls from an education, earning an income and more.

Malnutrition costs the global economy $3.5 trillion every year. Every dollar invested in nutrition yields $16 or more in returns. Meeting global nutrition targets brings results: 3.7 million children’s lives saved, 65 million fewer children stunted, and 265 million fewer women suffering from anemia.


August 3, 2018