Amsterdam, The Netherlands – Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG; AEX: PHIA), a global leader in health technology, today announced a major partnership with the Republic of the Congo’s Ministry of Health & Population and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to reduce maternal and newborn mortality rates by fifty (50) percent in the country’s health facilities over the next five years, especially in remote areas.
The three partners are working together to develop a large-scale ‘Emergency obstetric and newborn care’ (EmONC) program that will reach more than 500,000 women and 70,000 newborns, improving access to high quality and affordable maternal, neonatal and child healthcare. The first phase of the program will target five districts: Talangai, Ouesso-Mokeko-Pikounda-Kabo, Sembe-Souanke, Zanaga-Bambama and Sibiti-Komono.
The main objective of the program is to manage high-risk pregnancies and complications in healthcare facilities better by training midwives, enabling timely prevention of - and intervention during - complications related to pregnancy and childbirth.
As part of the program, health facilities in remote parts of the Congo will be fitted with solar power systems and ultra-portable ultrasound and monitoring devices so that midwives and doctors in these district health centers can identify and manage high-risk pregnancies onsite and provide emergency obstetric and newborn care. Community health workers serving remote communities will be equipped with backpack outreach kits containing key equipment to assist in childbirth, together with a mobile phone they can use to get remote technical support.
Despite falling by almost half between 2005 and 2015, maternal mortality rates in the Republic of the Congo are still similar to those of other less-developed countries. Women in the country’s rural areas face ongoing difficulties, especially the indigenous communities. Further investment in healthcare infrastructures, services, technology and innovation are therefore needed to ensure that maternal and newborn mortality rates continue to fall.
“The Government of the Republic of the Congo is committed to accelerating progress towards reducing maternal and newborn mortality,” said Jacqueline Lydia Mikolo, Minister of Health & Population of the Republic of the Congo. “We are open to fostering collaborations that are dynamic and mutually beneficial, and we foresee great potential in this partnership with Philips and UNFPA.”