Andrea Janus, Staff Writer for CTVNews
Improving maternal, newborn and child health should be “one of the highest priorities on the global development agenda,” the Aga Khan said in his keynote address at a summit hosted by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Thursday marked day two of the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Summit being held at a downtown Toronto hotel, and the morning began with keynote speakers by leaders in the maternal and child health field: Queen Rania of Jordan, the Aga Khan as well as President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, where there’s a major push to reduce maternal and child mortality rates.
The Aga Khan, whose development foundation runs a variety of health care programs in developing countries, told a rapt audience that he can think of “no other field in which a well-directed effort can make as great or as rapid an impact.”
The Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of the world’s 15 million Shia Ismaili Muslims, also praised Harper for leadership on the issue, but said much more needs to be done.
“The truth is that our efforts have been insufficient and uneven,” he said.
“At the same time we must avoid the risk of frustration that sometimes accompanies a moment of reassessment. Our challenge, as always, is to balance honest realism with helpful optimism.”