OTTAWA, ON--(Marketwired - November 25, 2014) - With world leaders gathering in Senegal on Friday for La Francophonie Summit, a poll in Quebec shows that there is broad based support for Canada to be a leader in improving the health -- and nutrition -- of the world's most vulnerable women and children in Francophone countries and beyond.

The poll was conducted by Léger on behalf of the Micronutrient Initiative (MI) earlier this month. MI is a global nutrition organization, headquartered in Canada, which reaches millions of the world's most vulnerable people every year with its programs. 6.3 million children die each year from preventable causes, and malnutrition is a contributing factor in 45 percent of those deaths.

The poll revealed that:

  • 87 percent of Quebec residents believe that the international community should do more to prevent children in developing countries from dying of preventable causes.
  • Eight out of ten Quebec residents (79 percent) support Canada's efforts to help Francophonie countries, and beyond, to improve the health and nutrition of women and children.
  • Eight out of ten Quebec residents (79 percent) believe that the fight against malnutrition in the world should remain at the centre of Canada's international aid efforts.
  • Eight out of ten Quebec residents (78 percent) say that Canadian support to address malnutrition globally is a positive expression of Canadian values

"Quebecers are very well informed about what is happening elsewhere in the world and they are very sensitive to issues that relate to poverty and malnutrition, especially when it impacts children," reflected Jean-Marc Léger, president of the public opinion research firm. "The poll results highlight the values that Quebecers believe in and also that there is broad-based support for Canada to be a leader in improving the health -- and nutrition -- of the world's most vulnerable."

The poll is being released the same week that Canada will participate in the Francophonie Summit in Dakar Senegal. The Francophonie is a group of 57 member states with a strong francophone culture and tradition. Despite tremendous examples of leadership, in countries like Summit-host Senegal and others, mothers and children in Francophonie countries experience some of the highest and most disproportionate rates of child mortality and malnutrition in the world.

The Micronutrient Initiative will be in Senegal at the end of November as part of Canada's delegation to La Francophonie. MI's work focuses on improving nutrition for the world's hardest to reach. In 2013 alone, MI reached approximately 500 million people with nutrition interventions in close to 70 countries.

 "I'm proud to be going to the Summit knowing that Canadians care so deeply about the health and nutrition of vulnerable people around the world," said Joel Spicer, President of the Micronutrient Initiative. "As far as addressing under-nutrition in developing countries is concerned, Canada punches above its weight as part of its commitment to maternal, newborn and child health."

Canada has been acknowledged as a global leader on supporting maternal, newborn and child health. This leadership was recently reinforced at a global Summit in Toronto in May, Saving Every Woman, Every Child, where Canada pledged $3.5 billion dollars to improve the health of women, newborns and children. Accelerating efforts to address under-nutrition is one of the three identified paths in Canada's strategy to end preventable deaths. 

The results presented in this paper were obtained using a Web survey conducted by Leger from November 10 to 13, 2014 inclusive, with a representative sample of 1004 Quebecers aged 18 and over from all regions of the province. The results of this study were weighted using data from the Statistics Canada 2011 Census according to sex, age, region, education and the presence of children in the household to make the sample representative of the entire population in the study. By comparison, a probability sample of this size would have a margin of error of +/-3.1%.

Micronutrient Initiative
The Micronutrient Initiative is an Ottawa-based, international not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that the world's most vulnerable -- especially women and children -- in developing countries get the vitamins and minerals they need to survive and thrive through strong nutrition programs.

Contact Information:

Media Contacts:

Micronutrient Initiative  
Victoria McMullen 
613 782 6808

Christian Bourque
Vice President
514 982 2464