Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced a C$105 million contribution to improve health in Africa and Asia during a visit to Tanzania.

The money will go to the Canadian-led Initiative to Save a Million Lives, which is designed to train 40,000 health workers and provide treatment for malaria, measles and malnutrition, focusing on mothers and children. "The project aims at saving at least 500 lives in poor countries every day," Mr Harper told a press conference. His host, Tanzania president Jakaya Kikwete said "it is a timely and a noble cause," Kikwete said.

The project is hoping to raise C$500 million from a series of donors including Norway and the United States, the World Bank and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. UNICEF also pledged another $105 million of its own to the initiative, saying it will be spent on services such as training health workers, immunisation, antiretroviral medication and community-level health education.

Mr Harper admitted that Canada's foreign aid levels have declined below the average for the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development countries, attributing it to the unexpected surge in the country's economy. However, he added that "we recognise we do still have some work to do to achieve the target we've set for ourselves".