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Safe Birth Initiative: When the lives of mother and child come first

Pregnancy and childbirth are life’s most joyful expectations. However, in many instances, these end in tragedy and anguish for families and friends when neonatal mortality; maternal or newborn deaths occurring during childbirth or shortly after from related complications happens.

Research shows that Nigeria has a current maternal mortality ratio of 576 per 100,000 live births, and a neonatal mortality rate of 37 per 1000 live births. These staggering numbers are worthy of concern as the current realities are dire. Fortunately, data generated from countries with better medical facilities has revealed that these numbers can be improved.

Therefore, it is evident that such improvements are often associated with a country’s socio-economic development. The question on concerned stakeholders is: Does this mean Nigerian women have to risk their lives consistently during child birth? This and more, are questions that plague the minds of expecting mothers across Nigeria.

It is in response to a challenging situation like this that Coca-cola birthed the Safe Birth Initiative to impact the lives of expectance mothers and their babies, especially in making a difference in the communities it serves. However, this commitment transcends providing refreshing beverages across its markets; it is all-encompassing as it also entails investing in the wellbeing of people around the world.

Over the years, this passion has birthed several initiatives focused on measurable impact; some of these initiatives include 5 by 20 women economic Empowerment, World Without Waste, Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN), the Safe Birth Initiative (SBI) and many more.

The Safe Birth Initiative (SBI), which aims to support the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS) on maternal and neonatal mortality; focusing on strengthening the capacity of selected public hospitals through procurement of vital maternal and neonatal medical equipment as well as providing training via renowned biomedical engineering technicians.

Through the SBI, CocaCola hopes to equip public health institutions with lifesaving equipment as well as promote effective maintenance culture by empowering local biomedical engineering technicians with the knowledge and skills for ensuring maximum uptime of new equipment provided and the rehabilitation of abandoned biomedical equipment in these hospitals.

The Coca- Cola Safe Birth Initiative is a social investment from CocaCola Nigeria in partnership with Medshare International, the Federal Government through the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals, and the Federal Ministry of Health.

“The Safe Birth Initiative is a part of the company’s wellbeing program to support the efforts of the government in reducing the alarming numbers of women and newborns who die from birth-related complications every day. The initiative was born out of the company’s desire and effort towards building sustainable communities that will ensure mums and babies come home alive,” said Clem Ugorji, the business unit public affairs, communications and sustainability director, Coca-cola West Africa.

Ugorji opined that Coca-cola has donated Sixteen 40-foot containers of medical equipment, kits and supplies with more on its way to these public health institutions. According to him, some of the beneficiary hospitals who have had its equipment and supplies fully installed and commissioned include; National Hospital Abuja, Federal Medical Center, Ebute Metta, Alimosho General Hospital, Federal Medical Center, Owerri and Wesley Guild Hospital, Ilesha. Upcoming installations have been scheduled for the University Teaching Hospitals in Ilorin and Port Harcourt.

Folasade Jaji, the secretary to the Lagos State Government, on behalf of Babajide Sanwo-olu, the Lagos State governor, during the handover ceremony of the equipment in Alimosho General Hospital said, the donated equipment aimed at strengthening the state’s capacity to address the issue of maternal and newborn mortality in Nigeria.

The SBI through its partners, Medshare International, has also trained over 150 technical/ biomedical engineers across these health institutions. These provisions are particularly significant in Nigeria where access to quality medical care is limited and sometimes unavailable to pregnant women who cannot afford the service.

With an investment of about 4 billion Naira, this has significantly transformed the health sector as medical care is set to get better with the Safe Birth Initiative being rolled out subsequently to other state hospitals across Nigeria.

The Safe Birth Initiative, therefore, ties into the women empowerment vision of the company as a crucial vehicle to help drive change in Nigeria, especially as it relate to save mother and child delivery in all medical facilities across the country.

Therefore, Coca-cola remains at the forefront of women empowerment consistently supporting initiatives that help achieve this goal. The company’s global 5by20 initiative, launched 10 years ago, aims to economically empower 5 million women by 2020.

As at the end of 2019, 4.6million women have been empowered under this initiative, of which over 400,000 are Nigerian women as Coca-cola is well on its way to achieving this goal by the end of 2020.

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