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Jan 17, 2020

Philips partners with the United Nations Population Fund and the Government of Republic of the Congo to reduce maternal and newborn mortality

  • A comprehensive ‘Emergency obstetric and newborn care’ (EmONC) program will be implemented in healthcare facilities in underserved communities in the Republic of the Congo  
  • The agreement is a tangible local milestone of the global partnership between Philips and UNFPA aimed at improving the health and well-being of fifty (50) million women and girls in countries where health challenges are greatest, launched in 2019. 

Amsterdam, The NetherlandsRoyal 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.” 

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.

Henk de Jong

Chief of International Markets, Philips

“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,” said Henk de Jong, Chief of International Markets, Philips. “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.”

 

“This innovative partnership will help get us closer to achieving our goal of zero maternal deaths in the Republic of the Congo by improving the emergency obstetric and neonatal care that people in rural and hard-to-reach communities receive,” said Dr. Natalia Kanem, UNFPA Executive Director. “We are committed to leaving no one behind and hope this model will inspire others who share our goal of making pregnancy and childbirth safe everywhere.”  

 

The Ministry of Health and Population will pay the salaries of the civil officials involved in the program. UNFPA will support the health districts in strengthening the capacities of midwives to provide EmONC services to increase the number of safe births and Philips will provide the technological know-how for this program. 

 

During the second phase, the project will be rolled out to another 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.

 

The partnership will help to transform healthcare in the Republic of the Congo, ensuring that the quality of its services is enhanced, its facilities meet World Health Organization (WHO) standards, and its ability to reduce maternal and newborn mortality is significantly improved. At the recent Nairobi Summit on ICPD25, the government committed to ensuring that all pregnant women have an antenatal consultation, and that all women deliver their babies with a skilled birth attendant by 2022.

About Royal Philips

Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) is a leading health technology company focused on improving people's health and enabling better outcomes across the health continuum from healthy living and prevention, to diagnosis, treatment and home care. Philips leverages advanced technology and deep clinical and consumer insights to deliver integrated solutions. Headquartered in the Netherlands, the company is a leader in diagnostic imaging, image-guided therapy, patient monitoring and health informatics, as well as in consumer health and home care. Philips generated 2018 sales of EUR 18.1 billion and employs approximately 80,000 employees with sales and services in more than 100 countries. News about Philips can be found at www.philips.com/newscenter.

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About UNFPA

UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is the lead UN agency for delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, and every young person's potential is fulfilled.  UNFPA expands the possibilities for women and young people to lead healthy and productive lives.  UNFPA is on the ground improving lives in about 150 countries that are home to 80 per cent of the world’s population. Guided by the Program of Action adopted at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), and the Sustainable Development Goals, UNFPA partners with governments, civil society, private sector, and others to advance our mission. More information about UNFPA can be found at www.unfpa.org.

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About the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) Congo

The Ministry of Health and Population leads the program at central and regional level and will also benefit from the close support of the Ministries in charge of Planning and Finance, the Prime Minister's Office and the Presidency. To ensure the health of Congo’s 5,203,073 inhabitants with 1,040,616 woman of child -bearing age, the MoHP’s National Health Development Plan 2018 - 2022 aims to increase accessibility and acceptability, meet the major challenges (outdated infrastructure, lack of financial resources in the health sector, qualified human resources, precarious working conditions) and meet its commitments. More information on the actions carried out and the needs of the Ministry can be found at http://www.sante.gouv.cg.

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Contacts

Radhika Choksey

Philips Group Communications - Africa

Tel.: +31 6 25 25 9000

Joost Maltha

Joost Maltha

Philips Global Press Office

Tel: +31 6 10 55 8116

Eddie Wright

UNFPA

Tel.: +1 212 297 2717

M. Koua Oba Jovial

MSPPFIFD

Tel.: +242 06 895 69 64

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