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Funding to ensure access to health services for children in the Sahel (May 13, 2013)

Pascal Canfin, Minister Delegate for Development, announced the launch of a €30 million initiative to ensure access to health services for children in Mali and other countries in the Sahel which will be funded by a portion of the French tax on financial transactions.

This initiative will be implemented through the creation of a fund managed by the French Development Agency. The actions supported in various countries in the Sahel will aim to ensure that the children of the poorest families, who cannot afford to pay for medical consultations, can be treated. An estimated 2 million children could benefit from this scheme.

In the Sahel, one in every five children dies before his or her fifth birthday, often from illnesses that can be treated. This initiative will ensure better access to care in order to prevent, screen for, and treat major pandemics, such as malaria and HIV/AIDS, as well as improved treatment of more common conditions and acute malnutrition. This fund will help to reduce infant mortality and speed up progress toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

Today, some 100 million people around the world fall below the poverty line every year because of health expenses. Hundreds of millions more forego medical treatment due to a lack of resources. This is typical in the Sahel countries where families must pay a major share of treatment costs. Moreover, France is one of the countries most committed to social protection issues. It notably supports the goal of universal healthcare coverage, in accordance with the principles set forth in a UN General Assembly resolution in December 2012.

This project reflects France’s determination to mobilize innovative funding for development. Following the introduction of a tax on financial transactions in July 2012, France was the first country to allocate 10% of the revenue from this tax to development policy, for access to health services, as well as drinking water and sanitation in sub-Saharan Africa. France also argues that a significant portion of the tax on European financial transactions - currently under negotiation – should also benefit international solidarity.


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