Coca-Cola donates over N200m worth of medical equipment to UITH

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*L-R: Director, biomedical engineering training & technical services, Medshare International, Eben Armstrong; communications manager, Coca-Cola Nigeria, Ifeyinwa Ejindu; chairman, medical advisory committee, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH), Dr. L.O. Odeigah; consultant physician and nephrologist, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH), Dr. T.O. Olanrewaju; and distribution manager - Ilorin, Nigerian Bottling Company, Tejumola Opeyemi, at the SBI donation of ultramodern medical equipment to UITH at Ilorin, recently.

The Coca-Cola System in Nigeria has donated ultra-modern medical equipment worth ₦221,970,000.00 ($500,000) to the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH) under its Safe Birth Initiative (SBI). 

The communications manager, Coca-Cola Nigeria, Ms Ifeyinwa Ejindu, while presenting the equipment to the management of the hospital in Ilorin, Kwara State recently, explained that the gesture was in continuation of the company’s efforts at strategically ameliorating maternal and neonatal mortality in Nigeria.

She further said the SBI is health-centric strategy with which the Coca-Cola System seeks to reduce the high rate of deaths being recorded during childbirth in Nigeria, both for mothers and newborns. 

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

Besides, she said 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, and US-based NGO, 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. 

Before the kickoff of this year’s SBI, Ejindu said over 56,000 families and more than 21,000 mothers and babies had benefitted from the social investment programme.

She expressed optimism that the project 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. 

She added that top-notch equipment had earlier in the year been presented to the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH), Rivers State and Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, (AKTH), Kano.

She assured that the company would continue to deepen interventions with the possibility of impacting a fourth health institution before the year runs out. 

Appreciating the donation, the chief medical director of UITH, Prof Abdullah D. Yussuf expressed gratitude at the timely intervention of the Coca-Cola System in the healthcare sector. 

Yussuf, who was represented at the occasion by the chairman, medical advisory committee of UITH, Dr. L.O. Odeigah, said some of the prominent gains of SBI’s intervention include capacity building, helping secure accreditation for courses and improved medical care. 

He cited the cost savings the institution recorded with the intervention which, according to him, has resulted in the revitalisation of several moribund medical equipment, the human capacity built which would ensure sustainable use of the equipment and the importance of the equipment in securing accreditation for certain courses in the institution. 

“On behalf of UITH and those who would be benefiting from the equipment, I want to register 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,” he said. 

The impact of the SBI could be best appreciated in the context of the revelation by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) that neonatal mortality rate in Nigeria in 2022 stands at 56.220 deaths per 1000 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 relating to diarrhea, infection, premature birth, asphyxia, or congenital anomalies. 

The director, biomedical engineering training and technical services, Medshare International, Eben Armstrong, expressed Medshare’s commitment to the triangle partnership as they recognise the damage to families that results from high neonatal and maternal mortality rates. 

“We are a humanitarian aid organisation dedicated to improving the lives of people all over the world. We just don’t provide equipment, we provide capacity building to the biomedical engineers and technicians aiding their efficient usage of available medical equipment, and this has brought hope to countless Nigerians through the Safe Birth Initiative”. 

Some other hospitals that have benefited from this intervention include National Hospital Abuja, Federal Medical Center, Ebute-Metta, Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, Wesley Guild Hospital Ilesha, and Alimosho General Hospital. 

Similarly, under the initiative, Coca-Cola Nigeria has successfully equipped over 300 biomedical engineers and 400 end-users with requisite knowledge and skills.

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