Maternal Health: Coca Cola Unveils “ Safe Birth Initiative’’ for Nigeria, Ivory Coast
Coca-Cola Company has announced the launch a new programme tagged: “The Safe Birth Initiative” to support the Ministries of Health in Nigeria and Ivory Coast to tackle the high maternal and infant mortalities.
Disclosing this during a courtesy visit to the President of the Republic of Ivory Coast, Alassane Ouattara, the Coca-Cola Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) Group President, Brian Smith, said the programme will focus on strengthening the capacity of maternity and neonatal units in selected public hospitals in Ivory Coast and Nigeria.
The Group president said that with US$20 million grant from Coca-Cola to Medshare International Inc., the US-based not-for-profit NGO will lead the project. The company will source essential equipment, kits and supplies worth about US$20 million to enable safe deliveries and post-delivery emergency care for both mothers and their newborns
“The program will also include the training of biomedical technicians and other appropriate hospital personnel by Medshare International on the operation, repair and maintenance of the donated equipment as well as the reactivation of a huge stock of faulty or abandoned equipment in public hospitals which is a major challenge for the country’s healthcare delivery system’ said Smith
According to UNICEF’s 2016 State of the World’s Children report, 38 out of every 1,000 babies die within the first 28 days of birth in Ivory Coast while 645 out of 100,000 women die during or shortly after child birth due to avoidable conditions.
While in Nigeria, about 40,000 women and 260,000 newborns (excluding 300,000 stillborn) die during or shortly after childbirth annually. For this reason, neonatal mortality is considered as one of the worst public health crises in Nigeria and a major priority for the Government in its resolve to meet the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs
“The commitment to help promote sustainable development in our communities is a fundamental part of Coca-Cola’s strategy for sustainable business growth. This program which demonstrates this commitment will help save the precious lives of many mothers and newborns and also support the remarkable efforts of the Ivorian government at rebuilding this vibrant country,” said the Coca-Cola EMEA president.
President Quattara welcomed Coca-Cola’s support for his country’s Health ministry, noting that maternal and child health was an area the country recorded a weak performance under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
“Your new programme will translate to improved healthcare and budget savings which will be channeled to other needs” Ouattara said, adding that his Administration has been able to grow the economy at an average rate of 9% over the last 5 years.
“Our emphasis now is to boost social expenditure with a focus on health, education and youth employment in order to reduce the poverty level further from 50% to about 25% by the end of my current tenure.”
Ivorian Minister of Health, Dr. Goudou Coffi, noted that improvement of maternal and newborn healthcare is one of the public health priorities of the country and thanked Coca-Cola for the initiative.
“Coca-Cola’s support through the Safe Birth Initiative will significantly strengthen our healthcare capacity and boost our resolve towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) targets in relation to maternal and newborn mortalities,” she said.
President of Coca-Cola West Africa Business Unit, Peter Njonjo, said “Coca-Cola has a special relationship with women who are pillars of our business, especially in Africa where women play a dominant role in our distribution and retail network.
Just like our 5 by2 0 Initiative, the Safe Birth Initiative, which we will be implementing in Ivory Coast and Nigeria is a platform enabling us to promote the wellbeing of women, in this case, as it relates to the special but vulnerable experience of childbirth.”