The Ogun State Government and the MTN Foundation, alongside other relevant healthcare agencies, last week, pledged to work collaboratively to tackle the menace of infant and maternal mortality in the state.
The partnership, which was announced during MTNF Yellow Heart Health Forum in Abeokuta, is a demonstration of MTNF’s commitment to reduce maternal and child mortality by increasing the level of awareness and perception of the phenomenon in Nigeria and aligns with global efforts to meet the Sustainable Development Goals health targets.
Commenting on MTNF’s decision to support the Ogun State Government on this initiative, Director, MTN Foundation, Dennis Okoro, said the Foundation is sensitive to the plights of members of the community where it operates. “We are very sensitive to challenges within our society, which is why we go the extra mile to make the lives of people brighter. It is against this backdrop that the foundation created a mandate to spend towards improving the state of healthcare, education and economic empowerment,” he said.
“Ogun state is the first to experience the yellow heart initiative and other states have been arranged to follow, we realise that most deaths of mothers and children in our communities can be prevented using existing knowledge, and proven cost-effective interventions. This is why we hope to use the Yellow Heart initiative to address predominant issues such as attitude and cultural practice that hinder women and children from accessing healthcare services in the society,” he added.
Expressing the appreciation of the Government, Commissioner for Health, Ogun State, Dr. Babatunde Ipaye, thanked the MTN Foundation for the yellow heart initiative and other impactful projects, commissioned by the foundation in the state.
Ipaye, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ogun State, Ministry of Health, Dr N.O Aigoro, said the partnership comes at a time when the state is taking serious steps to improve the healthcare sector.
“The yellow heart initiative is especially commendable not only because it is a step in the right direction but also because it aligns with what the state is doing to improve health care. In Ogun State we have the Araya Scale-up (Community Based Health Insurance Scheme) which provides beneficiaries with a card that qualifies them to visit any of the designated Health Care Providers in their respective local councils and access free health care without paying a dime. The free health treatment covers all manner of local endemic diseases that contend with the health of pregnant women, mothers and their children. Ante natal and post-natal services are assured. They will equally not have to worry about payment for diagnostic tests as this is also covered by the scheme. This is why we are very grateful to MTN for this support and we are pledging our commitment to ensuring that the yellow heart initiative reaches as many people as possible in the state,” he stated.