Pili, Camarines Sur – Health and nutrition needs of thousands of women and children are expected to improve as a multi-million peso project funded by the Government of Canada gets underway in Camarines Sur.

The project ‘Enhance Mother, Newborn and Child Health in Remote Areas through Health Care and Community Engagement’ (EMBRACE), implemented by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), aims to reduce preventable stunting and maternal-child mortality in hard-to-reach targeted regions of Camarines Sur.

EMBRACE will also help increase the consumption of nutritious foods and supplements by mothers, pregnant women and children under the age of five by raising awareness on nutrition issues and providing supplies and training on how to grow healthy and diverse foods in household backyards. It will also train midwives, nurses, traditional birth attendants and community health volunteers on safe birthing practices. The 5-year initiative received Cad$ 4.8 million (approx. PhP 163 million) from the Government of Canada.

“Canada remains committed to taking an active role in addressing the challenges faced by women, children and newborns, and further achieving the Millennium Development Goals,” Canada’s ambassador to the Philippines Neil Reeder said during the recent launch of the project in Pili, Camarines Sur.

EMBRACE will benefit women of reproductive age, newborns and children under five from over 4,200 households in the municipalities of Garchitorena, San Jose, Presentacion, and Calabanga in Camarines Sur.

Funding for this project is part of the Government of Canada’s 2015 announcement of Cad$421 million to humanitarian organizations’ initiatives that focus on strengthening maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) in 40 eligible countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia, including the Philippines which is one of Canada’s 25 countries of focus for development cooperation.

“We look forward to working closely with the local government of Camarines Sur and our civil society partners in implementing this very important project,” Ambassador Reeder added.