By Doris Obinna and Chinenye Ezenwa
Coca Cola Company worldwide has launched a new programme to support the Ministry of Health in Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire to tackle maternal and newborn mortalities rate.
Towards this end, a grant of US$2 million has been given to Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire by the Coca Cola Company.
This was disclosed by the Coca Cola Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Group President, Brian Smith, during a courtesy visit to President Alassane Quattara of Cote d’Ivoire.
Medshare International Inc., a US-based non-profit NGO, will source equipment, kits and supplies worth about US$20 million to enable safe childbirth and post-delivery emergency care for both mothers and newborns.
The programme 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 their activation of a huge stock of faulty or abandoned equipment in public hospitals, which is seen as a major challenge for the countries health care delivery system.
Brian Smith, Coca Cola EMEA Group President, stated that the commitment to help promote sustainable development in communities was a fundamental part of Coca Cola’s strategy for sustainable business growth, which will help save lives of many mothers and newborn.
Coca Cola’s support for the health ministry was welcomed by President Quattara, who noted that maternal and child health was an area Cote d’Ivoire recorded weak performance under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
“Your new programme will translate to improved health care and budget savings, which will be channelled to other needs,” he said.
Ivorian Minister of Health, Dr.Goudou Coffi, noted that improvement of maternal and newborn health care was 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 health care capacity and boost our resolve towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) targets in relation to maternal and new born mortalities,” she said.
Peter Njonjo, President of Coca Cola West Africa Business Unit 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.”