Coca Cola, FG, Others Boost Safe Births

L-R: Mr. Clem Ugorji, Director, Public Affairs and Communications, Coca-Cola West Africa Business Unit; Dr. Bala Yusuf, Technical Director, Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs; Prof. Chinyere Ezeaka, Professor of Paediatrics, Lagos University Teaching Hospital Idi-Araba; Dr Adedamola Dada, Chief Medical Director, Federal Medical Centre, Ebute-Metta; and Mrs. Amaka Onyemelukwe, Head, Public Affairs and Communications, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, during the Coca-Cola Stakeholders Parley on ‘Enabling Safe Births in Nigeria’

•Train 20 Biomedical Engineering Technicians

Chioma Umeha
Nigeria loses no fewer than 576 women per 100,000 childbirths and 37 newborn deaths per 1,000 live births.
The country is among the worst ratios for both maternal and newborn deaths globally, according to the 2013 National Demographics and Health Survey (NDHS).
A joint report entitled, “Trends in Maternal Mortality: 1990 to 2015 by World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), World Bank and United Nations Population Fund,” further estimates that with approximately 58,000 maternal deaths, Nigeria accounts for 19 per cent of the burden globally.
In view of the need to reduce maternal mortality to barest minimum, experts call for efforts at boosting capacity of health service delivery.
Consequently, Coca-Cola Nigeria has embarked on Safe Birth Initiative (SBI) to empower selected public hospitals through procurement of vital maternal and neonatal medical equipment and supplies.
The SBI covers training of biomedical engineering technicians to improve equipment maintenance and uptime; and reactivating a large stock of abandoned medical equipment wasting away in public hospitals.
The beverage company also says that SBI entails reactivating a large stock of abandoned medical equipment wasting away in public hospitals.
Coca-Cola made the disclosure at a workshop, tagged, ‘Enabling Safe Birth in Nigeria,’ which it organised for stakeholders. The event was held under the auspices of SBI sponsored by Coca-Cola in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Health, the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals and an NGO, Medshare International Inc.
The aim is to support the attainment of the SDG targets on maternal and new-born deaths reduction, and reactivating a large stock of abandoned medical equipment wasting away in public hospitals.
The workshop also marked the completion of the maiden SBI capacity training for 20 biomedical engineering technicians from 10 leading medical institutions across the country, comprising university hospitals, federal medical centres and general hospitals.
The two-week training was conducted by US-based Engineering World Health (EWH) at the School of Biomedical Engineering, Lagos University Teaching Hospital.
In his opening remarks at the event, Clem Ugorji, Public Affairs & Communications Director for Coca-Cola West Africa, gave highlights of the SBI rationale and implementation plan.
Ugorji says, “In addition to completing the first batch of the biomedical engineering technicians training, the consignment of equipment and supplies required for the National Hospital, Abuja had been fully delivered.
“The consignments for Federal Medical Centres in Ebute-Metta and Owerri and General Hospital, Alimosho, Lagos were scheduled to arrive in the coming weeks, while needs assessments were on-going at six other approved hospitals to determine their specific needs,” he adds.
Ugorji states that Coca-Cola’s commitment goes beyond donating equipment, through the SBI, noting, the company hopes to promote effective maintenance culture by empowering biomedical engineering technicians.
On his part, Prof. Isaac Adewole, Minister of Health, in his remarks, says, “We have always believed that our healthcare would improve with active collaboration and partnership from the private sector.
The Minister who was represented by Dr. Adedamola Dada, the Chief Medical Director of the Federal Medical Centre, Ebute-Metta, Lagos, commended the initiative.
Dr. Dada says, “The Safe Birth Initiative is a good example of such a partnership. Meticulous planning and identification of the needs of the beneficiary hospitals have been carried out with active involvement of partners and beneficiaries.”
Dr. Bala Yusuf, representing Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs, observes, “The Coca-Cola Safe Birth Initiative is working towards the third sustainable development goal – Health and Wellbeing for all, including our mothers and our children.
“This partnership is a classic example of what we can do when we combine our expertise and resources in support of the 2030 SDG agenda. We hope this event will strengthen our resolve to continue to work together as policy makers, development practitioners, academics, but more importantly as concerned citizens, in support of the 2030 agenda of the sustainable development goals.”
The official launch of the Safe Birth Initiative and inauguration of the first set of SBI equipment in the country will be performed by Professor Adewole, at the National Hospital in Abuja next week.