Sterling Bank Partners MACMME to Curb Infant, Maternal Mortality


Sterling Bank Plc and the Malaria, Child, Maternal Mortality Eradication (MACMME) project have collaborated to produce a movie titled ‘ANAVE’ in an effort to bring greater awareness to the plight of the less privileged Nigerian child and mother.

The film which was written, produced and directed by Nicolette Ndigwe had Abubakar Suleiman, Chief Executive Officer of Sterling Bank, and Frank Nweke Jnr., former Minister of Information and Communications, as co-executive producers.

Speaking at a press conference in Lagos at the weekend, Mr. Lekan Akintemi, Head of Technology and Digital Compliance, Sterling Bank, said the lender committed itself to be at the heart of Nigeria’s accelerated development by focusing on five critical sectors of the economy namely health, education, agriculture, renewable energy and transport.

“It should not be surprising that we supported the production of Anave, malaria, infant and maternal mortality advocacy movie – because it promotes health and improved access to healthcare for the most vulnerable in the society. In line with our commitment to the health sector, we are continuously developing solutions that would promote preventive health as part of our overall strategy towards making Nigeria a nation that is populated by healthy people.”

Also speaking at the press conference, Ndigwe explained that, “Anave tells the story of an eight-year-old boy whose mother dies from malaria complications at childbirth, leaving him at the mercy of an orphanage. He ends up on the street in a quest for an education where he faces the struggles of the vulnerable poor and homeless.”

She said the movie campaign would raise a voice for the plight of the underprivileged Nigerian child and mother, 3,000 of whom die daily from preventable diseases and about the need to cooperate in the fight against malaria mortality, the creation of basic health care, as well as housing and education opportunities for the underprivileged Nigerian.

According to her, ANAVE parades some of Nigeria’s most celebrated artistes and actors such as Omawunmi Megbele, Aituaje Iruobe popularly known as Waje, Shawn Faqua, Seun Ajayi, Rita Edwards and many others, adding that it also parades in its crew, internationally acclaimed cinematographer, Adekunle “Nodash” Adejuyigbe, among others.

She said the film would premiere before a select audience at fund-raising events in Lagos on April 25, 2019, followed by a series of screenings to larger audiences across Nigeria including educational institutions, as part of a plan that not only aims at sensitising the public about the plight of the underprivileged Nigerian, but also to bring about tangible and sustainable change to society’s solvable problems.

According to her, in keeping with this, the MACMME project has an end goal of establishing viable solutions for improved quality of life for the underprivileged Nigerian such as homeless shelters with access to basic healthcare, rehabilitation and empowerment programmes.

“The project’s overall strategic focus takes cognisance of five United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and recognising the potential of film in impacting the minds of people, Anave became the best tool to pass this message,” Ndigwe said.

She explained that the MACMME project is an advocacy project which seeks to reduce the gruesome rates of maternal and child mortality attributable to preventable causes such as malaria, homelessness, hunger and opportunistic diseases in Nigeria.

She said the dream which was born out of the need to ensure that no life was lost to anything that as a people, their resources could be brought together to fix or stop, was fueled by the statistics which showed that malaria is responsible for the death of an average of 300,000 children and 11 per cent of all maternal deaths each year in Nigeria.

She noted that data obtained from UNICEF further indicated that each month, “Nigeria loses about 2,300 under five-year-old and 145 women of child-bearing age, making it the second largest contributor to less than five and maternal mortality rates in the world.”

She observed that what she found most hurtful was that about 75 per cent of these deaths were linked to highly preventable causes such as basic health care, hygiene, homelessness and sanitation practices.

Ndigwe wondered why the country is losing lives to sicknesses and issues that as little as N1,000 could solve, implying that most of these deaths are also fueled by poverty and lack of awareness, which is a gap that Sterling Bank desires to fill by supporting the film.