Karen Palmer said the international development agency had hoped to see a “more ambitious initiative” than what emerged from the G8 summit held June 25 and 26 in Huntsville, Ontario.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Canada would contribute an additional $1.1 billion to the effort over the next five years, bringing the country’s total commitment to $2.85 billion. Outside donors are providing another $2.3 billion to the G8 initiative.
Around 1,000 women in Africa, Latin America and Asia die every day due to problems with childbirth or pregnancy, according to Oxfam. Palmer said inadequate education, a shortage of skilled health workers and poor nutrition increase the risks for mothers in developing countries.
“We need better access for women to be able to learn about their own rights for their own bodies,” she told the Straight today (June 28) by phone from Toronto. “We need to be able to let women know that they have a choice about whether they want to have sex or whether they want to have another baby.”
Palmer also criticized the lack of details provided about the G8 maternal health initiative.
“I think we’re waiting to see where this money’s actually going to go,” she said.
“We remain hopeful that we’ll see some real positive steps taken in the plan itself.”