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Harper urged to push for progress on health of poor kids, moms

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announces funding towards the prime minister's maternal, newborn and child health initiative at Davisville Pulbic School in Toronto on Thursday, May 29, 2014.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper announces funding towards the prime minister's maternal, newborn and child health initiative at Davisville Pulbic School in Toronto on Thursday, May 29, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

OTTAWA – The United Nations Children’s Fund is calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to use his coming speech at the General Assembly to push for progress on saving young mothers and newborns in the developing world.

The call for action comes as UNICEF released a report Tuesday morning that showed lagging progress on the issue.

The report says the world is making insufficient progress on meeting the fourth UN Millennium Development Goal – to reduce the child mortality rate as of 2015 by two-thirds from the 1990 level.

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

The report says that at the current rate, that goal will only be met in 2026.

Harper has made maternal, newborn and child health his signature foreign aid priority, recently pledging another $3.5 billion over five years to 2020.

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Harper will address the assembly in the coming week and take part in a separate event on the issue with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Sept. 25.