Philips, UNFPA and the Government of Congo collaborate on reducing infant mortality
Philips, UNFPA and the Government of Congo collaborate on reducing infant mortality

Royal Philips has joined forces with the Republic of the Congo’s Ministry of Health & Population and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), to reduce the maternal and newborn mortality rates in remote areas of the African country.

The health technology provider said that the partnership is aimed at starting an ‘Emergency obstetric and newborn care’ (EmONC) programme to reduce the mortality rates in the country by 50% in the next five years.

Republic of the Congo Minister of Health & Population Jacqueline Lydia Mikolo said: “The Government of the Republic of the Congo is committed to accelerating progress towards reducing maternal and newborn mortality. We are open to fostering collaborations that are dynamic and mutually beneficial, and we foresee great potential in this partnership with Philips and UNFPA.”

The EmONC programme is planned to be implemented in phases, with the first phase focusing on five districts, including Talangai, Ouesso-Mokeko-Pikounda-Kabo, Sembe-Souanke, Zanaga-Bambama and Sibiti-Komono.

The initiative is aimed at training midwives to ensure timely prevention and intervention during the pregnancy and childbirth related complications.

The programme, which is expected to reach more than 500,000 women and 70,000 newborns, is said to offer access to high quality and affordable maternal, neonatal and child healthcare.

Philips will provide technological support and UNFPA will train midwives

As part of the EmONC programme, the health facilities in remote parts of the Congo will be equipped with solar power systems and portable ultrasound and monitoring devices, enabling healthcare professionals manage high-risk pregnancies onsite and provide emergency obstetric and newborn care.

In addition, the community health workers will be provided with backpack outreach kits comprising essential equipment for assisting childbirth, and a mobile phone to receive remote technical support.

Under the collaboration, Congo’s Ministry of Health and Population will pay the salaries to the officials involved in the programme, while UNFPA will strengthen the capabilities of midwives, and Philips will offer technological support.

In the second phase, the EmONC project will be expanded, to cover 47 health districts in semi-urbanized and rural areas, including Pool, Likouala, Cuvette, Cuvette-Ouest, Plateaux, Bouenza, Niari, Kouilou, Pointe Noire and the other district of Brazzaville.

Philips international markets chief Henk de Jong said: “You cannot achieve prosperity without quality healthcare, particularly for mothers and children, so we are excited to come on board and contribute effectively to this partnership.

“Philips is passionate about maternal and child healthcare, because more than in any other sector, we can make a direct and dramatic positive impact on the quality of people’s lives.”