Residents of Lagos State have more reasons to smile this new year with the regional launch of Coca-Cola’s Safe Birth Initiative (SBI), a program aimed at reducing maternal and infant death rates nationwide.
The Safe Birth Initiative is focused on supporting doctors and nurses to achieve successful birth outcomes by strengthening the capacity of target public hospitals in three critical areas. These three areas are, the procurement of vital maternal and neonatal medical equipment and supplies to enable safe deliveries and post-delivery emergency cares, training biomedical engineering technicians to improve equipment maintenance and uptime, and reactivating a large stock of abandoned medical equipment wasting away in public hospitals.
The equipment and supplies worth a total conservative value of about $742,000 ie over N267 Million were formally unveiled and handed over at a special event at Alimosho General Hospital Lagos.
As part of the event, there was a facility tour and tape-cutting ceremony, which was led by His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Lagos State who was represented by the Secretary to the Lagos State Government, Mrs. Folashade Jaji, Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs, Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, Honorable Minister of Health represented by The Head of Department, Clinical Services, Yaba Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Dr Olugbenga Owoeye and Honorable Commissioner of Health, Lagos State, Prof. Akin Abayomi.
For Coca-Cola Nigeria, the SBI is a strategic partnership for national development with the federal government which is aimed at activating this project in states across the nation. This is in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that were adopted at the 2015 UN General Assembly as a successor to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Speaking during the event, the Business Unit Public Affairs, Communications & Sustainability Director, Coca-Cola West Africa, Clem Ugorji said, “The Safe Birth Initiative is a part of the company’s wellbeing program to support the efforts of government in reducing the alarming numbers of women and newborns who die from birth-related complications every day”.
According to the National Demographics and Health Survey (NDHS, 2013), Nigeria loses as many as 576 women per 100,000 childbirths and 37 newborn deaths per 1,000 live births, placing the country among the worst ratios for both maternal and newborn deaths globally. Sadly too, only 40% of new mothers receive healthcare after childbirth.
The Honourable Commissioner of Health, Lagos State, Professor Akinola Abayomi speaking on the newly installed medical equipment at the Alimosho General Hospital said;“We would like to thank Coca-Cola and Medshare for making this new equipment available and providing the technical support in running them and we would like to encourage other companies to emulate these kinds of initiatives in our communities”.
The Safe Birth Initiative (SBI) directly supports the country’s achievement of SDG-3 on ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages and SDG-5 on “achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls.” Speaking to this, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs, Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, said; “Coca-Cola’s Safe Birth Initiative focuses on four SDGs which are, 3 5 8 and 17 and I would like to thank Coca-Cola for the passion they put into running with this initiative”.
Dr. Madewa Adebajo, Medical Director of Alimosho General Hospital, also commented; “We are here today, having received two container loads of medical equipment and consumables. We thank Coca-Cola and Medshare as this will go a long way to complement our efforts towards the safe delivery of our mothers and newborns.”
Under the SBI, over 80 Biomedical engineering technicians’ capability has been upskilled to improve equipment maintenance and uptime thereby saving more lives. The technicians were drawn from across 10 beneficiary medical institutions across the country, comprising university hospitals, federal medical centres and general hospitals, by Eben Amstrong, Director, Biomedical Engineering and Training; Medshare International USA, the programme implementing partner.
Noting the support of Medshare, Clem Ugorji said, “Coca-Cola has worked with Medshare for more than 15 years across 25 countries in Africa and they have proved to us to be a very passionate and dependable partner.”
The inauguration ceremony had a number of dignitaries present. Among these dignitaries were the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs, Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, the Secretary to the Lagos State Government, Mrs. Folashade Jaji, the Honorable Commissioner of Health, Lagos State, Prof. Akinola Abayomi, Director Biomedical Engineering and Training Services, Medshare International, USA, Eben Amstrong, Personal Physician to His Excellency, the Vice President, Dr Nicholas Audiffren and The Traditional Ruler of Shasha Kingdom, Alimosho, Oba Babatunde Akanbi Ogunrobi.
Coca-Cola Nigeria has imprinted strong local footprints in more than 200 countries across the globe through strategic projects that tackle some of the challenges that impede the sustainable development of communities. During the first year, the SBI supplied consignment of equipment, kit and supplies were delivered to the National Hospital, Abuja and Federal Medical Center Ebute Metta. Also, a two-week intensive training programme was conducted at the School of Biomedical Engineering of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital by Engineering World Health.