By Bashir Bello, KANO

Worried by the alarming rate of Maternal and Neonatal mortality in the country as a result of out of pocket expenditure and obsolete equipment, a multinational beverage company, Coca-Cola Nigeria has donated medical equipments worth $720,000 to the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, AKTH to reduce the needless and preventable mortalities.

The equipments such as anesthesia machine, baby incubator, utralsound machine, auto-clev, Delivery bed among others were donated under “The Safe Birth Initiative, SBI” in partnership with Medicare International (USA), Federal Ministry of Health and Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals.

The Company’s Managing Director in Nigeria, Alfred Olajide said the initiative was to strengthen capacity of selected tertiary institutions to change the narrative of maternal and neonatal mortalities that has been a concern to nigerians.

Olajide said, “In developing this programme, we intend to provide support that will strengthen the capacity of our tertiary health institutions. First, to procure the vital modern maternal and neonatal health equipment and supplies that would save the lives of mothers and their children.

“Secondly, we prioritized the training and upscaling of biomedical engineering technicians to improve the equipment maintenance at all time crucial to the efficiency of the hospital.

“And finally, we decided to optimize the hospital assets as well by repairing and reactivating broken down medical equipment. So these are the three broad areas that we are intervening.

“We have been able to execute these across six tertiary health institutions. And Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital is the seventh beneficiary hospital to be impacted on this journey,” he said.

Olajide continued when he said the initiative is making impact as it has progress status, “over 21,000 new born babies and mothers have been saved through this intervention. In addition, 56,000 families benefitted from the project and 250 biomedical engineering and technicians trained to provide improved support,” the Managing Director noted.

Buttressing on the need for the interventions, the Company’s Director, Public Affairs, Communication and Sustainability, Nwamaka Onyemelukwe said with the intervention it is expected that the hospital will offer free medical services to the pregnant women.

“The program is targeted to make sure we have reduced cost going to the indigent women. And that is why the traditional leaders are key to us. We want more mothers to come into the hospital because where the deaths are happening is with the mothers who don’t have money and don’t come to the hospital. So the arrangement with hospitals is they should be treated free.

“Another area is, normally when a mother shows up, they were giving a long list of supplies she is actually supposed to buy. But with SBI and amount of supplies that we have donated, that has drastically reduced or does not exists. We have a full birthing kits that are provided to the hospital for women who cannot afford. And that is the area we are focusing on and we have the full commitment of the hospital,” Onyemelukwe said.

On his part, Director, Biomedical Engineering and Training Medshare International, USA, Eben Armstrong said it has trained over 40 biomedical technicians and engineers in the hospital who are expected to train the end users, repair and ensure maintenance of the equipments towards attaining the objective of the initiative.

Earlier, the Chief Medical Director, AKTH, Prof Abdulrrahman Abba Sheshe, who was represented at the ceremony by the Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC), Prof. Auwalu Gajida, expressed his delight at the donation of medical equipment as he highlighted that more mothers and newborns have been afforded better odds in favour of safe deliveries. He noted that this was a huge benefit for both Kano residents and other neighbouring states like Katsina, Kaduna, Bauchi and Zamfara.

Meanwhile, the Emir of Kano, Aminu Ado Bayero and Karaye, Ibrahim Karaye said the human capacity building was a great achievement which was followed by a gesture which he has capacity to reduce maternal mortality recorded in the state especially as the state has highest number of cases of maternal mortality.

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