New Telegraph

Coca-Cola’s intervention brightens neonatal, maternal care

The Coca-Cola System in Nigeria has stepped up efforts at mitigating neonatal and maternal mortality with a strategic intervention in Nigeria’s healthcare system, under its Safe Birth Initiative (SBI). The Coca-Cola System in Nigeria comprising Coca-Cola Nigeria and its bottling partner, the Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC), donated some cutting-edge equipment in Port Harcourt, that will aid solutions to complex medical conditions in relation to safe birth and motherhood in the country. Also, the SBI’s intervention provided two sets of heart and lung machines, amongst other lifesaving equipment. Prior to the launch in Port Harcourt, SBI had so far reached over 56,000 families with over 3,000 mothers and babies impacted through its social investment programme.

In addition, Coca-Cola Nigeria has successfully upskilled over 200 biomedical engineers and 400 end-users with requisite knowledge and skills to ensure optimal utilisation of the medical equipment, and their effective maintenance. Director, Public Affairs, Communications, and Sustainability, Coca-Cola Nigeria, Nwamaka Onyemelukwe, during the donation in Port Harcourt on Friday, explained that SBI is the health-centric strategy with which the Coca-Cola System aims to reduce the high rate of deaths that have been occurring during childbirth in Nigeria, both for mothers and newborns. SBI 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.

Vice Chancellor, University of Port Harcourt, Prof Owunari Georgwill expressed joy at the timely intervention of the Coca- Cola System in the healthcare sector. He opined that the top-notch equipment would impact beyond the UPTH and assured that those entrusted would make the most of it. In addition, Onyemelukwe pointed out that kicking off this year’s initiative at Port Harcourt was particularly heartwarming because of the memories evoked by impact stories that have followed the SBI programme which was launched in 2018 She said, “We are starting this year’s Safe Birth Initiative at the University of Port-Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH).

The SBI would still reach out to more health institutions within the year. But what makes today an especially happy one for me is that the Coca-Cola System is able to meet specific equipment necessities of the Maternal and Neonatal Care Unit of UPTH.” The SBI was launched in 2018 in partnership with the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGS, Federal Ministry of Health, and US-based International NGO, Medshare International, to support and strengthen the country’s healthcare capacity in achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) in relation to maternal and new-born mortalities.

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