By Franklin Ocheneyi
“WE are in talk with other partners to come on board, especially members of the Food and Beverage Recycling Alliance, FBRA. The Food and Beverage Recycling Alliance is a coalition comprising Coca-Cola Nigeria Ltd., Nigerian Bottling Company, Nestle Nigeria Plc, Seven Up Bottling Company and Nigerian Breweries Plc. No matter how big Coke is, we cannot do it alone. Together, we can do more than one company can do. As a company every little drops count.”
Dr. Clem Ugorji, Public Affairs & Communications Director for Coca-Cola West Africa, disclosed this at a workshop on ‘Enabling Safe Birth in Nigeria’ organised by the company weekend in Lagos, in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Health, the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals and an NGO, Medshare International Inc.
“Our intent is to make the Safe Birth Initiative a sustainable programme that will be replicated in more hospitals across Nigeria and in the other countries in the sub-region. To ensure the sustainability of this scheme and extend its reach, we will strive to create partnerships with like –minded organizations and donors. We believe that that by creating a network of partners we can future-proof the scheme and increase our impact. So, it is not going to be funded by Coca-Cola alone,” he said.
According to him, the truth of the matter is, “as a company, the communities in which we operate are very critical to the success of our business. If the communities are not sustainable, if the communities are not prosperous, if the people in the community cannot meet their basic needs of survival, then, there is absolutely no way that businesses can be successful. If people in a community are not able to meet their basic needs and have an extra change, to be able to buy some of the products that we made, then, we as a company cannot be successful.”
Ugorji said Coca-Cola’s commitment goes beyond donating bio medical equipment to public hospitals.
“Through the SBI, the company hopes to promote effective maintenance culture by empowering biomedical engineering technicians with the knowledge, skills, tools and confidence to take responsibility for ensuring maximum uptime for the new equipment, as well as reactivation of abandoned biomedical equipment in the target hospitals. There is a limit to what our doctors and nurses can do with just their skills and passion, in the absence of the vital life-saving equipment required for effective diagnosis, testing and treatment”, he said.
He said that already, in addition to completing the first batch of the biomedical engineering technicians training, the consignment of equipment and supplies required for the National Hospital, Abuja had been fully delivered; the consignments for Federal Medical Centres in Ebute-Metta and Owerri and General Hospital, Alimosho, Lagos were scheduled to arrive in the coming weeks; while needs assessments were ongoing at six other approved hospitals to determine their specific needs.
The Honourable Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole said, “We have always believed that our healthcare would improve with active collaboration and partnership from the private sector.
Represented by the Chief Medical Director of the Federal Medical Centre, Ebute- Metta, Lagos, Dr Adedamola Dada, he noted that the Safe Birth Initiative is a good example of such a partnership, adding that meticulous planning and identification of the needs of the beneficiary hospitals have been carried out with active involvement of partners and beneficiaries.
“We commend our partners on this programme- Coca-Cola, the SDG Office, Medshare International and the Engineering World Health and use this opportunity to call on other private sector players to join us in this battle to free our nation from diseases and major challenges in maternal and childhood health,” he said.
Dr Bala Yunusa, represented the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs, Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire.
He said: “This partnership is a classic example of what we can do when we combine our expertise and resources in support of the 2030 SDG agenda. We hope this event will strengthen our resolve to continue to work together as policy makers, development practitioners, academics, but more importantly as concerned citizens, in support of the 2030 agenda of the sustainable development goals.”