Coca Cola and federal government partner to launch US$11m safe birth initiative

NIGERIA – The Coca-Cola Company has partnered the Federal Government to launch a safe birth initiative worth US$11.04 million to address the country’s high infant mortality and maternal rates, reports Beverage Industry News.

The initiative dubbed ‘Safe Birth initiative’ (SBI) was formed in collaboration with the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Medshare International Inc.

During the inauguration of the project, four units of 40’ foot shipping containers of life-saving medical equipment were donated to the National Hospital, Abuja.

Coca-Cola President, West Africa Business Unit, Mr Peter Njonjo said the organization chose to join the fight against maternal and new-born deaths, so that mothers and babies could come home alive from maternities.

“Working with the Federal Ministry of Health and the OSSAP-SDGs as well as MedShare International, we developed the safe birth initiative where government, private sector and the civil society come together to tackle issues.

“We recognise that there are many factors responsible for the high maternal and infant mortality and this will require different skills and levels of intervention.

“We want to support our doctors, midwives and nurses who battle against great odds in public hospitals to manage life threatening complications affecting mothers and new-borns,” he said.

According to him, that 80% of infant and maternal mortality in Nigeria were preventable if all stakeholders contributed their quota to minimise the trend.

The safe birth initiative will help address the challenges experienced during births by delivering lifesaving equipment in public hospitals, procurement of facilities and the training of biomedical engineers and technicians.

The National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS, 2013) indicated that Nigeria loses as many as 576 women per 100,000 childbirths and 37 new-born deaths per 1,000 live births, placing the country among the worst ratios for both maternal and newborn deaths globally.

“We must reduce maternal mortality. Our women are not disposable – when a woman dies, the baby is likely to die and the communities suffer.

“We must have the right indicators and solutions to address the issues.

We are currently working with states in the country to gather and understand the data and improving facilities to ensure people have a place to deliver,” said Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole.

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