By CHIKA IZUORA, Lagos
The Coca-Cola Company is set to launch a new program tagged, ‘The Safe Birth Initiative’ aimed at supporting the ministries of Health in Nigeria and Ivory Coast to tackle the high incidence of maternal and newborn mortalities.
This was disclosed by the Coca-Cola Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) Group President, Brian Smith, during a courtesy visit to His Excellency Alassane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Ivory Coast.
The programme will focus on strengthening the capacity of maternity and neonatal units in selected public hospitals in Ivory Coast and Nigeria. With US$2 million grant from Coca-Cola to Medshare International Inc., the US-based not-for-profit NGO will source essential equipment, kits and supplies worth about US$20 million to enable safe deliveries and post-delivery emergency care for both mothers and their 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 the reactivation of a huge stock of faulty or abandoned equipment in public hospitals which is a major challenge for the country’s healthcare delivery system.
This intervention comes as Ivory Coast, which has enjoyed stability and one of the fastest economic growth rates since the end of a civil war in 2011, grapples with some of the highest maternal and newborn mortality ratios globally.