The Cross River State Government and the MTN Foundation, alongside other relevant healthcare agencies, have pledged to work collaboratively to tackle the menace of infant and maternal mortality in the state.
The partnership, which was announced during MTNF Yellow Heart Health Forum in Calabar recently, was a demonstration of MTN Foundationâ€™s commitment to reduce maternal and child mortality by increasing awareness of the phenomenon in Nigeria and aligning with global efforts to meet the health targets of Sustainable Development Goals.
Speaking on the Foundationâ€™s decision to support the Cross River State Government on this initiative, Director MTN Foundation, Mr. Dennis Okoro said: â€œWe are very sensitive to challenges within our society and it is against this backdrop that the Foundation created a mandate to spend towards improving the state of healthcare, education and economic empowerment. We hope to use the Yellow Heart initiative to address predominant issues such as attitudes and cultural practices that hinder women and children from accessing healthcare services in the societyâ€.
Expressing appreciation on behalf of the state Government, wife of the Governor of Cross River State, Dr. Linda Ayade commended the MTN Foundation for the Yellow Heart initiative and other impactful projects commissioned by the Foundation in the state. â€œThe MTN Foundation deserves to be commended for initiating several interventions in the state, particularly in the area of health. The donation of the Yâ€™ello Doctor mobile clinic and a hemodialysis center, and the renovation of the post-natal ward at the general hospital are among the several impactful initiatives of the MTN Foundation in the state and we are sincerely grateful.â€
She further disclosed that the Yellow heart initiative aligns with actions of the state government in improving healthcare in the state. â€œWe founded the Mediatrix Development Foundation (MDF) to channel health and development interventions that will address the needs of the vulnerable and less privileged in the state. 1000 persons have received dental and eye care including drugs and laboratory services, we have provided 219 free surgeries, 280 women have received breast and cervical cancer screening, among othersâ€, she said.
Commenting on what the partnership means for the state, Commissioner for Health, Cross River, DrInyangAsibong said that the initiative would immensely improve the health and survival rate of women and children in Cross River State. â€œThis is a welcome development, as we continue to ensure sustainable development for all Cross Riverians through sustainable healthcare, especially for our mothers and children; we invite the MTN Foundation to continue to partner with us in various other aspects of our healthcare delivery system.
â€œIn Cross River State, especially the Health sector, maternal, newborn and child health issues are paramount, this is evident in the huge reduction of maternal mortality indices from 1,500 to 576, far below the national averageâ€, she added.
Other Yellow Heart activities which took place in the state, include a panel discussion on maternal and child health,ante natal and post-natalÂ sensitization for pregnant women,distribution of delivery kits for pregnant women around the state, and an awareness walk tagged â€œWalk for Lifeâ€.
The MTN Foundation has partnered with the Ministry of Health on multiple projects related to this cause. This includes the Maternal Ward Support project which has facilitated the renovation of 24 maternal wards across the country, and the â€˜Yâ€™ello Doctorâ€™ project, which has seen Mobile clinics supporting the medical needs of mothers and children commissioned in six states.