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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada will host a meeting of G8 development ministers in the Atlantic Coast city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, on April 26-28 to focus on strategies for saving the lives of mothers and young children in poor countries, the government said on Thursday.
The ministers will prepare proposals for a Group of Eight summit to be held in Muskoka, Ontario, in June. The G8 is comprised of the United States, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia.
"The recent tragedy in Haiti and the overwhelming global response demonstrates that by mobilizing resources and efforts, the international community can make a difference," said Defense Minister Peter MacKay, a member of Parliament for the region that includes Halifax.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced last month he would use Canada's presidency of the G8 to push for improvements to maternal and child health in the world's poorest regions. He called it unacceptable that 500,000 women die in pregnancy or childbirth every year and that 9 million children die before their fifth birthday.
Development Minister Beverley Oda called for the G8 to rally behind practical measures, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, such as providing clean water, vaccinations and better nutrition, as well as funding the training of health workers.
Reporting by Louise Egan; Editing by Rob Wilson