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MedShare’s Global Impact

Federal Medical Center Owerri, Nigeria

The World Health Organization estimates that more than 800 women die every day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth1. According to the African Population and Health Research Centre (APHRC), in 2017 Nigeria was the second largest contributor to maternal mortality worldwide2. To put this in context, one out of 13 women die from pregnancy and childbirth in Nigeria. Maternal and underfive mortality rates in Nigeria also remain stubbornly high, with about 900,000 women and children dying each year, largely from preventable causes. Many factors contribute to these challenging statistics, including close to 60% of births taking place at home, a lack of skilled birth attendants in certain regions of the country, and inadequate antenatal, labor and delivery and post-labor equipment.

Recognizing that action needs to be taken to reduce maternal mortality and improve maternal and child health services in Nigeria, MedShare is partnering with The Coca-Cola Company and the government of Nigeria on the Safe Birth Initiative (SBI) to strengthen maternal and child healthcare throughout the country. Through this initiative, we will improve the quality of care provided to pregnant mothers and infants in Nigeria, reduce the number of preventable maternal and child deaths, and save lives.

MedShare‘s work with the Federal Medical Center Owerri is an example of how the SBI is implemented to improve the quality of maternal and child health services. The city of Owerri, Nigeria has a population of approximately 1.4 million people, and is the capital of Imo State, one of 36 throughout Nigeria. Just outside the core municipal area of the city, lies the Owerri Federal Medical Center (FMC), a 680 bed public hospital providing comprehensive health services to 35,000 patients per month.

The Nigerian Ministry of Health has identified 15 public hospitals as SBI participants, including Federal Medical Center Owerri. Each hospital will receive two 40’ ocean containers filled with high quality medical supplies and equipment designed to improve maternal and child health outcomes.

Central to this project was equipping fully functional labor and delivery operating rooms within Federal Medical Center Owerri. MedShare had secured most of the essential items, but was missing an OR Table, a key component for Owerri hospital.

Having recently established a formal partnership with ZRG Medical, MedShare reached out to the company’s leadership and asked for assistance. A family owned company, ZRG is passionate about
reducing waste within the healthcare profession and supporting access to quality healthcare around the world. Posed with a request for support, ZRG provided MedShare is a Skytron 3501c operating table, allowing the labor and delivery suite to be completed and become operational. The previous photo shows the Federal Medical Center Owerri technical team on hand to receive the OR Table and receive training on its use and maintenance.

Grace Ogbonnaya was the first mother to use one of the newly installed delivery beds. She remarked that “the bed was much more comfortable for delivery.” She expressed her appreciation for the donation and hopes to be able to use one of the new beds for her next delivery as well.

As part of the sustainability measures aligned with the SBI program, MedShare is coordinating professional installation and training of the biomedical engineers, technicians and end-users. In addition to the ZRG-donated OR Table, other donated equipment to Federal Medical Center Owerri included diagnostic ultrasound machines, infant incubators, anesthesia machines, phototherapy lights, patient monitors, fetal monitors, electrosurgical units, birthing beds, and other core equipment and supplies.

The Safe Birth Initiative has supported 8 public hospitals throughout Nigeria, and several additional facilities are being assessed for participation in the program.