Our Contributions to Maternal, Newborn and Child Health

Saving the Lives of Women and Children

The Canadian Red Cross has been delivering community health care in Canada and around the world since 1923. Our emergency health programming dates back even further.

In the past decade alone, our Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) programs have reached more than 13 million direct beneficiaries in 24 countries across the Americas, Africa and Asia.

In partnership with ministries of health and our Red Cross and Red Crescent partners, we deliver proven, inexpensive interventions to some of the world’s most rural and remote areas, interventions that strengthen communities, strengthen health systems and save lives.

The Global Context: 

A global commitment has been established to save the lives of mothers, newborns and children world-wide. The United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) focus on reducing preventable deaths of children under the age of five and improving maternal health. These are also top priorities for Canada, and for the Canadian Red Cross. We have much to contribute: 

We are a member of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the world’s largest humanitarian network, with more than 13 million volunteers and a presence in 189 countries.

Our Partnerships are essential.  We work together to improve and save the lives of women, children and newborns during times of peace as well as conflict, in disasters and forgotten emergencies, during recovery from crises and through our development programs, supporting long-term solutions for healthy and resilient communities.

Our approach is comprehensive.  We strengthen and support health systems where most needed, and to address malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea, the primary killer diseases of children. Together we work to reduce the devastating rates of maternal and newborn mortality, and the underlying peril affecting all child survival:  malnutrition.

We harness the power of communities, ministries of health and our Red Cross and Red Crescent partners to deliver practical, proven and cost effective interventions to save the lives of women and children around the globe.

Our priority is to work where the deaths of women and children are most prevalent;  in rural, remote regions of the world where health services are largely absent, and in emergencies, where health services have virtually collapsed.

We support communities to take the lead in identifying and addressing factors which affect their health, to improve the health of women and children and to increase newborn survival.

We provide women with the knowledge and the means to take control of their reproductive health needs before, during and after pregnancy, to access health facilities for themselves and their children.

We ensure families learn basic, lifesaving practices for their newborn infants, the importance of exclusive breastfeeding, and how to improve nutrition for young children.

We increase community access to potable water, and the knowledge and means to improve hygiene and sanitation.

In order to sustain results, we strengthen lasting partnerships among National Red Cross and Red Crescent teams, communities and ministries of health.