Government of Canada responds to Order Paper Question concerning Muskoka Initiative

On January 23rd, the Government of Canada responded to a question posed by CAPPD member, Kirsty Duncan, concerning Canada’s support for family planning within the Muskoka Initiative on Maternal, Newborn and Child (MNCH) health.

The question posed to the Government was:

“With regard to Canada’s Muskoka Initiative:
(a) what definition of family planning services is the government using?
(b) what are the top five projects recipient of family planning funding and their amounts?
(c) regarding the $5 million Canada has pledged to fight early and forced marriage, is this new funding or redirected from funds under the Muskoka Initiative?”

The responses are as follows:
(a) what definition of family planning services is the government using?

“Under the leadership of the Prime Minister through the Muskoka Initiative, Canada works with its partners to support country-led efforts to scale-up integrated reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health services, which includes the provision of family planning services and commodities. In addition, these services are provided along three core paths: strengthening health systems so that they are better equipped to deliver essential interventions, reducing disease burden and improving nutrition.

Canada has taken a leadership role in addressing the health challenges faced by women, newborns and children in the world’s poorest countries. In fact, the Prime Minister has called women’s and children’s health “the flagship priority for Canada’s international engagement.” Canada has clearly been at the forefront of these international efforts, committing $1.1 billion. We are prepared to do more, and we fulfill all our commitments made under the 2010 Muskoka Initiative.”

(b) what are the top five projects recipient of family planning funding and their amounts?

  1. Emergency Obstetrics in South Sudan: establish 24-hour comprehensive obstetric and neonatal care services. Covers 8 hospitals, including the training of approximately 210 people. $19,400,000
  2. H4+ Initiative to Accelerate support for Maternal and Newborn Health: a collaborative mechanism to assist high-burden countries in accelerating the implementation of current commitments to the Global South Strategy for Women and Children’s Health. $10,000,000
  3. Community-based Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Services: supports Tanzania in MDGs 4&5 by providing training for healthcare workers and ensuring access to women and children. This project includes awareness raising campaigned aimed at educating the public about health issues and solutions. $8,400,000
  4. High-impact Intervention for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health: Focusing on the Zambezia province in Mozambique, the joint-UN programme contributes to the reduction of maternal, newborn and child mortality through technical assistance, training and social mobilization. $8,000,000
  5. Strengthening Midwifery Services in South Sudan: this project provides women with greater access to high-quality midwifery services, and primarily trains midwives and other health workers. It includes developing a training programme at National Health Training Institutes across the country. $6,800,000

(c) regarding the $5 million Canada has pledged to fight early and forced marriage, is this new funding or redirected from funds under the Muskoka Initiative?”

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on October 24, 2013 a $5-million commitment for child and early forced marriage. This funding is from the Global Peace and Security Fund and not redirected from resources under the Muskoka Initiative.”

The full response can be downloaded here (réponse en français inclus)

 

Brief analysis

  • The Government of Canada’s definition of ‘family planning’ (see response to question (a) above) differs from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Development Co-Operation Directorate (OECD-DAC), which defines family planning as “services including counselling; information, education and communication (IEC) activities; delivery of contraceptives; capacity building and training.” 
  • According to DFATD’s Project Browser, only 2 of the 5 projects identified as recipients of family planning funding include specific budget allocations for family planning
  • Of the 2 projects with specific budget lines for family planning, the total allocated for family planning amounts to only $8,6 million ($5 million towards the H4 Initiative and $3.6 million towards the Community-based Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Services), rather than $52,6 million outlined in response to question (b) (see list of project amounts above)
  • The $5 million in ‘new’ funding for early and forced marriage is in fact not new funding, but rather funds redirected from existing initiatives.