health equity

A world without poverty is dependent on ambitious global health efforts as poverty is both a cause and consequence of poor health. Poverty can prevent access to healthcare, social services, adequate nutrition, clean water, and proper sanitation. Ultimately, the causes of poor health for millions of people are rooted in political, social, and economic injustices, which is why we work to address both causes and symptoms.

The negative health impacts of poverty are demonstrated by infectious diseases disproportionately affecting lower-income countries. Tuberculosis (TB), HIV/AIDS, and diarrheal disease are some of the leading causes of death in these regions, while they are largely prevented or rapidly treated in wealthier nations.

The COVID-19 pandemic made these disparities even more clear, as wealthy nations like Canada rapidly acquired and rolled out vaccines, while low-income countries had limited access to the tools needed to control and respond to the pandemic.

Good health is a right that everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy, which is why we steer our advocacy efforts towards issues that are at risk of being prioritized less or will have the largest impact on poverty eradication and health optimization. With COVID-19, increasing conflicts and climate-related disasters undoing years of progress towards achieving health equity related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), our advocacy is now more critical than ever.

priority issues in health equity

Across all our priority issues, we work to shift away from health systems designed around diseases and institutions and towards health systems designed for people with people. We push governments at all levels to underscore the importance of action beyond the health sector to pursue a whole-of government approach to health, including health-in-all-policies and a strong focus on equity and interventions that include the whole person and community.

ending tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) is the world’s leading infectious disease killer, claiming around 1.3 million lives in 2022 alone. TB is an airborne infectious disease caused by bacteria that primarily affects the lungs. As a disease that is strongly linked to the social and physical environments that surround people, TB disproportionately affects those living in poverty. The continued existence of TB shows just how persistent inequities are within global health. Even within Canada, TB is a concern among specific groups that are often marginalized, including Indigenous and newcomer communities.

Progress towards eradicating TB was severely disrupted by COVID-19 as national budgets, healthcare workers, and resources were redirected to address the pandemic. In fact, 2020 was the first year in over a decade in which TB deaths increased. While a significant global recovery in TB response was reported in 2022, we are still way off track to meet the global targets to eliminate this ancient disease.

Less than half of the financial need to address TB has been met in recent years. Inadequate funding for TB research and development, along with outdated treatment and diagnosis options, have hindered our chances of meeting the global 2030 target of ending TB. It has also caused a rise in drug-resistant TB - a significant issue that threatens to reverse decades of progress. Not only does drug-resistant TB result in longer and more dangerous treatment, but multidrug-resistant TB accounts for a third of all antimicrobial resistance-related deaths globally.

Now more than ever, people affected by TB need solutions. To stop the spread of disease, prevent a surge of drug-resistance, avoid preventable deaths, and prepare for future infectious disease threats, people with TB need to be reached with TB diagnosis, treatment and care – regardless of where they live.

child health

Since 2000, child mortality has decreased by 59 per cent, largely thanks to life-saving Interventions like vaccinations and good nutrition. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has reversed years of progress through increased pressure on healthcare systems and on the workers who support them. Despite efforts to recover, 20.5 million children missed out on basic childhood vaccines in 2022, over 14 million received no vaccines at all. Additionally, nearly half of all deaths in young children can be attributed to malnutrition.   

Although scientific advances allow us to understand better than ever how to end preventable child deaths, a combination of factors keeps these innovations out of reach of those who need them the most. Conflict and emergencies, limited access to affordable and quality health care, and lack of access to clean water and sanitation all contribute to this phenomenon. The world is also facing an unprecedented malnutrition crisis that threatens children’s health. Last year, among children under five, an estimated 148.1 million (22.3%) were stunted (too short for their age), and 45 million (6.8%) were wasted (don’t weigh enough for their height). Stunting and wasting can lead to irreversible physical and cognitive consequences, which limit learning abilities and weaken the immune system.  

There is an urgent need to increase access to life-saving innovations and protect the health of children and the gains made over the last decades. The world must step up its investments in immunization and nutrition, create a foundation for health and development, and contribute to a positive cycle that lifts individuals, communities, and nations out of poverty.   

women and adolescent girls’ health

As the struggle for gender equality continues, much more needs to be done to ensure that women and girls have access to the health services they need to live in dignity and thrive. Every two minutes, one woman dies from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. According to recent estimates, Sub-Saharan Africa alone accounts for 70% of all maternal deaths, while Central and Southern Asia, accounts for almost 17%.   

Additionally, 270 million women of reproductive age are unable to access contraception and one in three women experiences physical or sexual violence in her lifetime. A woman's agency over her decision to have children can be restricted by lack of access to appropriate contraception, misinformation, gender inequality, and poverty. And the consequences are dire. Nearly half of all pregnancies are unwanted - that is, 121 million a year. 45% of the resulting abortions are carried out using risky methods or in hazardous conditions, making unsafe abortion one of the leading causes of maternal mortality.  

Canada’s leadership

Canada has long demonstrated its legacy as a global health leader through its role as a founding partner and/or leading donor of global health initiatives like the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, the Global Financing Facility (GFF) for Women, Children and Adolescents, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), and TB REACH 

Canada has also played a historic role in establishing global initiatives to support women and children’s health. Canada spearheaded the Muskoka Initiative in 2010, a G8 policy focusing on investment in maternal, newborn, and child health. Canada’s contribution of CAD$7.3 billion was leveraged by the G8 Summit and then multiplied by the United Nations for a substantial total investment of CAD$40 billion 

Canada also made a historic pledge to support the Thrive Agenda, committing CAD$1.4 billion annually starting in 2023 to support women and children’s health and reproductive rights around the world. Canada was also one of the few countries that made their fair share contribution to the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, a collaborative mechanism that accelerates the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines. 

Canada’s commitments to global health are grounded in principles of gender equity and the empowerment of women and girls, as outlined by its Feminist International Assistance Policy. The policy includes Canada’s vision for international assistance as eradicating poverty and building a more peaceful, inclusive, and prosperous world, through the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. Recognizing the multi-dimensional nature of poverty, the policy works across multiple action areas, including human dignity, equitable economic growth, environment and climate action, inclusive governance, and peace and security.  


recent Results Canada wins

Since our formation in 1986, Results Canada has been fighting for health equity. And winning. In the last few years alone, Results has seen major progress.  

Our volunteers worked hard in 2023 to call for Canada to invest in Stop TB Partnership’s TB REACH initiative. During the TB UNHLM that September, Prime Minister Trudeau announced $25.5 million over two years for the initiative. Thank you to everyone who took action. We can be proud of the impact this will have on the global quest to end TB! 

In the spring of 2023, Canada heard our calls to renew its commitment to global health security to prevent and respond to future disease outbreaks. Canada announced $100 million over five years to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), a global partnership that aims to reduce the time taken to develop vaccines for disease threats to just 100 days. 

In 2022, Canada increased its investment in the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria by 30%, from $930.4 million to $1.21 billion. This represents the single largest investment Canada has made towards any international financing institution for health. To achieve this, Results volunteers sent countless letters to Members of Parliament (MPs), hundreds of media pieces were published, and high-impact meetings were organized with government decision makers and in communities across Canada.  

From the beginning of the pandemic, Results Canada volunteers called on Canada to do its part to #EndCovidEverywhere by investing in the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) to support low- and middle-income countries to deliver the tools needed to fight the pandemic. In 2022, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced an investment of $732 million in the ACT-A, makes Canada a champion by recommitting its fair share once again. 

In early 2021, we started asking Canada to invest in the Global Financing Facility for Women, Children, and Adolescents (GFF) to #StopTheDeadlyDivide. That May, Canada announced an initial CAD$100 million investment in the GFF to protect the health of women, children, and adolescents. And then in December of that year, Canada announced another financial contribution of $195 million for 11 nutrition projects to be implemented by Canadian and international partners and invested an additional $50 million in the Global Financing Facility’s (GFF) COVID-19 Essential Health Services Grant program.   

In May 2020, after extensive advocacy from Results Canada volunteers, the Canadian Government committed $600 million over 5 years to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) and $190 million over 4 years for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). These investments are critical in helping Gavi and GPEI achieve their routine immunization goals as well as helping to ensure an effective global COVID-19 response. 

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