Pregnant women and newborns in the environs of Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH), Kano are next in line to benefit from the Safe Birth Initiative (SBI).This is a sustainability drive of The Coca-Cola System in Nigeria, comprising Coca-Cola Nigeria and its bottling partner, Nigerian Bottling Company, (NBC).
SBI, launched in 2018, delivers both equipment and human capacity building to health institutions across Nigeria with the hope of bridging the shortfall in the availability of state-of-the-art medical equipment and a dearth of skilled manpower to optimally maintain what is available.
Coca-Cola has embarked on this initiative because available data shows that about 240,000 babies die within the first week of life, out of the seven million babies born in Nigeria annually. Most of these deaths occur because of a complication during pregnancy and childbirth.
With its new sustainability platform, Jamii, Coca-Cola continues to deliver on its sustainability imperatives with women at the very core as they remain key pillars of communities.
Under the SBI programme and through a partnership with the Federal Ministry of Health, the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals, and MedShare International, the Coca-Cola System is providing neonatal and maternal medical equipment/supplies at an estimated value of $10.8 million to about fifteen (15) tertiary health institutions in Nigeria. The donations to Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital are worth $724, 657.40.
Alfred Olajide, Managing Director, Coca-Cola Nigeria, on Friday at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano explained that the SBI is a health-centric strategy with which the Coca-Cola System seeks to reduce the high rate of deaths occurring during childbirth in Nigeria, both for mothers and newborns.
He explained, “Our company acknowledges the power that women bring to communities and how they positively impact everything we do. We must therefore do all within our power to keep them alive and well. We are proud of the modest achievements of the SBI so far, with over 21,000 newborn babies and mothers safely preserved. Another 56,000 families have benefitted one way or the other across the country”.
“We kicked off this year’s SBI at the University of Port-Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) in June and we are excited to continue today at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital with further plans to impact more health institutions within the year”.
At the donation last month, officials at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital pointed out that kicking off this year’s initiative at Port Harcourt was particularly heartwarming because of the memories evoked by impact stories that had followed the initiative at previous locations.
Eben Armstrong, Director, Biomedical Engineering Training & Technical Services, Medshare International, expressed the NGO’s commitment to the triangle partnership as they recognize thedamage to familiesthat results fromhigh neonatal and maternal mortality rates.
He said, ‘’We are a humanitarian aid organisation dedicated to improving the lives of people all over the world. We just don’t provide equipment, we provide capacity building to the biomedical engineers and technicians aiding their efficient usage of available medical equipment, and this has brought hope to countless Nigerians through the Safe Birth Initiative”.
The Chief Medical Director, AKTH, Prof Abdulrrahman Abba Sheshe, who was represented at the ceremony by the Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC),Prof Auwalu Gajida, expressed his delight at the donation of medical equipment as he highlighted that more mothers and newborns have been afforded better odds in favour of safe deliveries. He noted that this was a huge benefit for both Kano residents and other neighbouring states like Katsina, Kaduna, Bauchi and Zamfara.
Also present at the event were the Emir of Kano, Alh. Aminu Ado Bayero, ably represented by Alh. Ado Kurawa, the Sakin Fader, Kano; the Emir of Kalaye, Dr. Ibrahim Abubakar, represented by Alh. Musa Sali Kwankwanso; heads of various departments in the Aminu Kano TeachingHospital alongside other dignitaries.
Since the commencement of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2016, the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (OSSAP-SDGs) has been mobilising all stakeholders, particularly the organised private sector to commit to the implementation and attainment of the goals.
The Safe Birth Initiative falls under SDG 3, which ensures healthy lives and promotes well-being for all ages. This targets a reduction of the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births, bearing in mind that Nigeria’s maternal mortality ratio is 576 per 100,000 live births.