May 29, 2014 3:30 pm

Harper pledges additional $3.5B to maternal, child health initiative

WATCH: PM Harper makes the funding announcement at a Toronto-area primary school

TORONTO – The Conservative government is pledging an additional $3.5 billion over five years towards the prime minister’s maternal, newborn and child health initiative.

Stephen Harper is making the announcement about the funds, which will cover the period from 2015 to 2020, at a Toronto-area primary school.

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READ MORE: Melinda Gates ‘supports’ Harper’s child and maternal health plan

The commitment is slightly higher than the $3.25 billion that a coalition of aid groups had been asking for.

The money builds on the $2.8 billion Harper committed to his so-called Muskoka Initiative, unveiled in 2010 when Canada hosted the G8 summit.

READ MORE: What’s changed for moms and babies since the $2.8B Muskoka Initiative?

Harper has made helping young mothers and newborns in developing countries his signature aid priority.

Harper says the new funds will be focused on helping young children in the first month of life who are dying around the world in numbers that experts describe as alarming.

© The Canadian Press, 2014

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