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For the first time, global leaders at the annual G8 summit have included maternal, newborn, and child health as key areas in need of specific attention.

At the conclusion of July’s summit in Hokkaido, Japan, leaders from the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the European Union released their annual Development Communiqué, outlining their nations’ commitments toward improving global health—and calling for improving the health of mothers and children. That’s good news to PATH and several other organizations we partnered with in advance of the summit to actively advocate for new commitments to improve maternal, newborn, and child health.

PATH at civil G8 meeting

In April, PATH attended the 2008 Japan G8 Summit NGO Forum in Kyoto, Japan, a gathering designed to give nongovernmental organizations a chance to clarify civil society’s positions on the global concerns deemed most pressing by the presiding G8 country and to influence the outcomes of the proceeding G8 summit. In addition to calling for new attention to the health of mothers and children, PATH and other participants urged the G8 sherpas to honor their prior health commitments.

Commitment to global health, development

At the G8 summit, global leaders discussed climate change, intellectual property rights, the state of the world economy, and the ongoing economic, political, and health crises in Africa. The G8 Development Communiqué reaffirms the industrialized nations’ commitments to fostering development in the global South. Among other matters, the Communiqué outlines the ways in which the G8 nations hope to contribute to the improvement of global health. Specifically, member nations said they will strive to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and strengthen and improve health systems in less-developed nations.

PATH applauds the G8 nations for prioritizing the achievement of MDGs 4 and 5—reducing child mortality and improving maternal health—and encourages financial commitments from global leaders to honor their health pledges.

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Posted July 21, 2008.