NIGERIA – The Heineken Foundation, through Nigerian Breweries Plc has signed a memorandum of understanding with University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) committing US$116,000 to tackle infant mortality.

While making the commitment, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, NB Plc, Mr Jordi Borrut- Bel said, “Here at UBTH, the Foundation will equip the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit with advanced neonatal care facilities and consumables worth US$116,000 to assist in reducing the neonatal mortality rate from the current 25% to 10%.”

“We hope that with this intervention, we would be contributing to reversing the negative index of neonatal deaths in Edo State in particular and Nigeria in general.”

Mr Bel expressed optimism that the project would be executed according to the terms and conditions of their agreement.

The Chief Medical Director, UBTH, Dr Darlington Obaseki, said the project was necessary as the death rate among the newborn babies was at a very drastic level.

“At UBTH, we have about 2,000 live births every year and out of which about five per cent need special care; that is special intensive care, to look after them and another 25 per cent of this five per cent require intensive care.

“Though we have a special care unit, there was no neonatal intensive care unit”, the CMD said.

The hospital was among the nine institutions that applied for the assistance but only the UBTH scaled through and got the approval from the foundation.

Since the inception of the foundation in 2007, it has committed up to US$11m in 111 different projects focused on health and water across Africa.

Some of the funds had supported projects in Kaduna state such as the donations of the general female orthopaedic ward, a CT scan and ultra-sound scanning machine, all at the St. Gerard’s Hospital in 2010, 2013 and 2015 respectively.