Coca-Cola Donates $500,000 Worth of Equipment to UITH to Reduce Neonatal Mortality

Hammed Shittu in Ilorin

The management of Coca-Cola Nigeria has donated hospital equipment worth over $500,000 to the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH) as part of intervention to ameliorate maternal and neonatal mortality among women in the country.

Already, the company, under its Safe Birth Initiative (SBI) system, has extended such interventions to about five University Teaching Hospitals in the country. They are National Hospital Abuja; Federal Medical Centre, Ebute-Metta; Federal Medical Centre, Owerri; Wesley Guild Hospital Ilesha; and Alimosho General Hospital.

Speaking in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, yesterday during the presentation of the equipment to the management of UITH in Ilorin under its Safe Birth Initiative (SBI), the Communications Manager of Coca-Cola Nigeria, Mrs. Ifeyinwa Ejindu, said the intervention is meant to reduce the high rate of deaths being recorded during childbirth in Nigeria-both for mothers and newborns.

She noted that the initiative was launched in 2018 to deliver equipment and technical capacity building in tertiary health institutions across Nigeria.

The manager said the company is optimistic that it would contribute in bridging the shortfall in the availability of state-of-the-art medical equipment and skilled manpower to effectively maintain and utilise available equipment.

Ejindu also noted that: “The SBI was launched in 2018 in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Health, the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and US-based group, Medshare International, with a view to supporting and strengthening the country’s healthcare capacity in line with the SDG goals that relate to maternal and new-born mortalities.

“This year’s interventions have seen top-notch equipment donated to the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH), Rivers State, and the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH), Kano.”

According to her, before the kickoff of this year’s SBI, it had reached over 56,000 families with over 21,000 mothers and babies impacted through its social investment programme.

Similarly, under the initiative, she explained that: “Coca-Cola Nigeria has successfully upskilled over 300 biomedical engineers and 400 end-users with requisite knowledge and skills to ensure optimal utilisation of the medical equipment, and their effective maintenance.

“The impact of the SBI could be best appreciated under the background that the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) places the neonatal mortality rate in Nigeria as at 2022 at 56, 220 deaths per 1,000 live births, a 2.57 per cent decline from 2021.

“According to UNICEF, the maternal mortality rate in Nigeria currently contributes to 10 percent of the global

death rate as it stands at 576 per 100,000 live births.

“This means that each year, over 262,000 babies die due to issues such as diarrhea, infection, premature birth, asphyxia, or congenital anomalies.”

Also speaking at the event, the Chief Medical Director, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Prof Abdullah D. Yussuf, expressed gratitude at the timely intervention of the Coca-Cola system in the healthcare sector.

Represented at the occasion by the Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee, (C-MAC), UITH, Dr. L.O. Odeigah, he said some of the prominent gains of SBI’s intervention include capacity building, helping to secure accreditation for courses and improved medical care.

He cited the cost savings the institution recorded with the intervention which has seen several moribund medical equipment resuscitated, and the human capacity building which would ensure sustainable use of the equipment and the role played by the equipment in securing accreditation for certain courses by the institution.

Yusuf said: “On behalf of UITH and those who would be benefiting from the equipment, I want to register our gratitude to the donors, Coca-Cola Nigeria.

 “It is evident that the equipment being presented to us today comes with cutting-edge technology that will aid solution to complex medical conditions. I am certain that this will impact the entire Kwara State and beyond.”

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