Glory Ife and Chisom Ebih
The Safe Birth Initiative (SBI) has donated maternal and neo-natal care equipment to the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Ebute-Metta, Lagos as a way of transforming maternal and neo-natal health care in the country.
Speaking at the formal handing over, Coca-Cola West Africa Public Affairs & Communications Director, Mr. Clem Ugorj, said the SBI was a wellbeing programme of Coca-Cola Nigeria Ltd to support efforts by national governments in the West Africa to reduce the alarming numbers of women and newborns who die from birth-related complications every day.
According to him, “Coca-Cola is in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Health, the office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals and an NGO, Medshare International Inc. This is a critical intervention that aims to tackle the high rate of maternal and newborn deaths in Nigeria. The Safe Birth Initiative focused on supporting doctors and nurses to achieve successful birth outcomes by strengthening the capacity of target public hospitals in three critical areas, including: the procurement of vital maternal and neonatal medical equipment and supplies to enable safe deliveries and post-delivery emergency care; training biomedical engineering technicians to improve equipment maintenance and uptime; and reactivating a large stock of abandoned medical equipment wasting away in public hospitals.”
He said the FMC, Ebute-Metta is the second out of the 15 hospitals set to receive a set of medical equipment provided under the Safe Birth Initiative. “During the first phase, 15 major public hospitals across Nigeria recommended by the Federal Ministry of Health, will receive hospital equipment, kits and supplies worth a total conservative value of about $10.8 million, i.e. over N3.8 billion.”
He said: “Active and intentional collaboration between members of the private and public sector is key to transforming healthcare in Nigeria. We commend the good work our doctors and nurses are doing but recognise that there is a limit to what they can do without the critical equipment required for effective diagnosis, testing and treatment.
“Through the SBI, we are pleased to be able to donate vital equipment to aid the work currently being done to safeguard the lives of mothers and babies here at FMC, Ebute-Metta and the 14 other hospitals that will receive donations as part of the first phase of the Safe Birth Initiative,” he said.
“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,” Ugorji added.
Also, Head Sectors, Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs (OSSAP-SDGs), representing Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs, Dr. Yahaya Hamza, said, “the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs is working assiduously to provide strategic guidance on the implementation of the SDGs in Nigeria.
“By making available a wide range of vital life-saving equipment, the Safe Birth Initiative is a great support for the achievement of goal the SDGs, good health and wellbeing for all. We hope that other private sector actors will follow Coca-Cola’s example in supporting Nigeria’s development aspirations.”
On his part, the Chief Medical Director, FMC Ebute-Metta, Adedamola Dada, said: “We are grateful to Coca-Cola, the OSSAP-SDGs, Medshare International and the Federal Government for this initiative.
“Already, since receiving the SBI equipment early this year, we have saved just a little under N10 million in medical and administrative costs. We have recorded and supported 21 premature births with the newly-installed incubators; 321 mothers and babies have been brought home alive; and 46,000 other patients have benefitted in some way from the SBI initiative.
“Coca-Cola has also ensured the sustainability of the programme and equipment, making sure we have adequate engineering capacity on ground, through the training of our engineers, for preventive maintenance.”
Adding further, he said: “Under the SBI, 20 biomedical engineering technicians have completed an intensive two-week capacity training focused on improving equipment maintenance and uptime.
“The technicians, who came from 10 leading medical institutions across the country, comprising university hospitals, FMC and general hospitals, were trained by US-based Engineering World Health (EWH) at the School of Biomedical Engineering, Lagos University Teaching Hospital.”