MP Lise Zarac in Ethiopia
At the G8 in Muskoka last June, Canada called on the international community to invest in maternal and child health because 8.1 million children around the world die from preventable causes before their fifth birthday and more than 340,000 women die during childbirth or from pregnancy-related causes.
Lise Zarac, Liberal member for LaSalle-Emard, travelled to Ethiopia in January with NGO World Vision to experience firsthand what progress on maternal and child health looks like and what work still needs to be done. “It’s one thing hearing about life in a developing country, it’s another seeing it for yourself,” says Zarac, who travelled with fellow Liberal MP John McCallum and Conservative MP Peter Braid.
Ms. Zarac was able to see how simple interventions like vitamin supplements, nutritious diet, hygiene training, breastfeeding and family planning can significantly improve community healthcare and save lives. “It may look like baby steps,” notes Zarac. “But if you educate mothers and give them the information they need, they will use it and it makes a big difference.”
Ms. Zarac says she was particularly moved by the people she met. “We sat in on a breastfeeding and child nutrition class with young mothers. They were so happy to learn and I understand – I’m a mother too. When you have children, you want them to be healthy.”