The honourable Asha Seth hosted the Canada-India Network Society (CINS) for a high-level discussion on the importance of maternal, newborn and child health in the prevention of chronic diseases around the world. The night featured informative lectures by Dr. Arun Garg, President and Chair of the CINS, and Dr. D.K. Gupta, Head of Pediatric Surgery at the prestigious All-India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi and President of the World Federation of Associations of Pediatric Surgeons (WOFAPS).
Canada’s Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism, the honourable Jason Kenney, opened the evening with a powerful statement of support for Senator Seth’s initiatives to improve maternal and child health.
Senator Seth spoke on the key role that early childhood development plays in the prevention of adult chronic illnesses, “evidence continues to show that by the age of twelve one out of five Canadian children already suffers from a chronic illness. But new studies show that early childhood development programs with health care and nutritional components can help prevent or delay the onset of adult chronic disease. This means that through proper education on nutrition and health we could have the power to reduce healthcare costs and improve the wellbeing and productivity of Canadians.”
Dr. Arun Garg outlined three areas of focus to improve prevention of chronic diseases, “creating a strong network of communication in the eradication of non-communicable diseases, individual and organizational development projects that focus on research and innovation, and commitment to collaborative health development to provide early support and ongoing engagement against chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.”
Dr. Devendra K. Gupta followed by highlighting that “there are more than three billion children under the age of fourteen, and two-thirds of these children are found in the developing world. A large percentage of these children, especially those under five, still suffer and die from malnutrition, malformations, and cancer due to lack of facilities and transportation.”
Investing on early health to improve later health was the main point of the evening as lecturers encouraged the support of organizations and initiatives that work towards ensuring that mothers have access to regular prenatal and postnatal care, especially while children are less than five years old.