FG Partners Private Sector to Ensure Safe Birth in Nigeria

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ABUJA – (Office of SSAP on SDGs Report) – The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (SSAP-SDGs), Adejoke Orelope – Adefulire has revealed that concerned by the increase in maternal mortality rate in Nigeria, the Federal Government has taken proactive steps towards engaging the private sector to reverse the trend.

Delivering her keynote address at the formal launching of the Coca-Cola Safe Birth Initiative (SBI) in Nigeria which took place in Abuja recently, Orelope – Adefulire explained that the SBI was designed to support selected hospitals across the country with state – of – the – art medical equipment and technical capacity building. She further disclosed that 4 hospitals are to benefit under phase I, whilst six hospitals will benefit under phase II of the programme.

She added that the SBI is in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health, the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (OSSAP-SDGs) and Coca-Cola Nigeria, while her office is working horizontally and vertically to provide strategic leadership and guidance in the overall implementation of the SDGs in Nigeria.

“What we are doing today with the SBI is directly supporting the achievement of SDGs in the bid to ensure healthy lives and promote the well-being of all ages and the SDG-Goal 5 on achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls,” she noted.

She added that the SBI which speaks precisely to the intent of SDG-3 has among its target to by 2030 reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70% per 100,000 live births. Adefulire while assuring that her office will continue to partner with key actors in the private sector to support the attainment of the SDGs in Nigeria enjoined other corporate organizations, Foundations and Civil Society Organizations to replicate this type of initiative as exemplified by Coca-Cola as part of their corporate social responsibility for sustainable business.

She said that Government cannot do it alone, therefore the private sector should partner with the Government to interrupt the incidence of maternal mortality in Nigeria. Adding, to this end, the OSSAP-SDGs have since inaugurated the Private Sector Advisory Group on SDGs (PSAG-SDGs) to privately mobilize private sector expertise and financial resources in support of the SDGs.

The Minister of Health, Isacc Adewole (Prof) in his keynote address said that emphatically under his watch, there is assurance that it will no longer be business as usual for mothers to die while giving birth. He continued that Government must reduce maternal mortality in Nigeria, as it is fast – tracking the implementation, indicating that it is unacceptable for women to die while giving lives.

In noting that quite a lot of people die in the Sub-Saharan Africa and the narrative must change, he observed that currently about 40,000 women die yearly during child birth. “We want to bring this figure down so that women can be saved,” he stressed.

The Minister attributed the high rise in maternal and infant deaths to poverty and illiteracy and called for acceleration of the girl – child education and women empowerment which he noted will translate into crashing down of maternal mortality in those areas where it has been horrendous. To ensure reduction in maternal mortality, he called for inter-sectoral collaboration, improved access to quality healthcare, availability of essential commodities as well as the political will of leaders at all levels of government.

Adewole also noted that Coca-Cola has blazed the trail, stressing that other corporate organizations should emulate it. He reverred that working together, Nigerians can keep women alive and keep the country safe.

Earlier in his remarks, the President of Coca-Cola West Africa, Peter Njonjo said that Coca-Cola is investing in building the capacity of medical engineers, indicating that their vision is to make the initiative a regional programme in the West and Central Africa.

“A full consignment of medical equipment comprising ultra-sound machines, infant incubator, resuscitaire infant warmers, anesthesia machines, multi-parameter patient vital signs monitors, among others were donated to the national hospital by Coca-Cola Nigeria,” Peter Njonjo informed.

He further disclosed that the SBI will be implemented in 15 hospitals under the first phase (2018 – 2020) beginning with 10 hospitals to include: the Federal Medical Centre – Katsina; Aminu Kano University Teaching Hospital; Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital – Bauchi; University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital; the National Hospital – Abuja; the Federal Medical Centr – Ebutte-Metta; Alimosho General Hospital – Lagos; the Wesley Guild Hospital Ile-Ife – Osun; University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital and the Federal Medical Centre – Owerri.

Peter Njonjo implied that the Safe Birth Initiative focuses on strengthening the capacity of public hospitals to ensure safe births and reduce the unacceptably high ratios of maternal and newborn deaths in the sub-region through four key interventions. He identified the interventions to include: economic empowerment of 5 million women in Nigeria and across several other countries through the Coca – Cola value chain by year 2020, provision of access to clean water for 6 million Africans in underserved communities, promotion of recycling and curtailing of the packaging of waste pollution and investing in the fight against major diseases like HIV/AIDS and Malaria as well as initiatives to strengthen healthcare systems such as Project Last Mile and the Safe Birth Initiative.