General Electric Funds Nigeria’s Healthcare Infrastructure
Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Volunteering Fight Maternal and Child Mortality in AfricaSeptember 12th, 2016
Throughout the last month, a team of General Electric (GE) volunteers have been continuing the successful philanthropic work of GE in Nigeria by joining the United for Kids Foundation Nigeria team and visiting the Pediatric Department of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital in Ikeja, Nigeria. There, they have been assisting with improving the quality of the healthcare system in Nigeria.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 5.9 million children below the age of five died in 2015: 16,000 every day. The risk of a child dying before turning six is still highest in the WHO African Region (81 per 1000 live births). This rate is about seven times higher than that in the WHO European Region (11 per 1000 live births).
On top of that, the maternal mortality levels in Africa remain extremely high. In most cases, the deaths are due to limited access to adequate healthcare and appropriate medical treatment.
This problem is being countered through the efforts of the state, civil society and NGOs such as the United for Kids Foundation Nigeria (UKF), a non-profit organization established in the United States, the United Kingdom and Nigeria. The organization is strongly committed to fighting against child and maternal mortality in Nigeria.
The private sector also often plays a catalytic role in these efforts by assisting the work of the state and the NGOs.
General Electric has been operating in Nigeria for over 40 years, with businesses spanning a number of key sectors including aviation, power generation, oil and gas, healthcare and transportation. In 2009, GE signed a Country-to-Company (C2C) agreement with the Federal Government of Nigeria to support the financing, design and building of infrastructure across key sectors including rail, power and healthcare.
Regarding healthcare, it has partnered with the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health, the United States Agency for International Development and others to create an innovative healthcare system to reduce preventable child-maternal deaths in Nigeria. To do this, it will build specialized hospitals for women and modernize the healthcare system with up-to-date medical equipment.
Last month, a team of GE volunteers joined the UKF team at a hospital, visiting the Pediatric Department of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital in Ikeja to cheer up the hospitalized children and alleviate some of the immediate treatment needs of the hospital’s patients by distributing donated goods.
During their visit, GE’s team of volunteers, with the assistance and support of the wider GE Nigeria community, also managed to raise N$128,000 for 10-year-old Aduragbemi, who needed surgery after she was diagnosed with an acute prolapse of a major organ.
It is definitely a good example which ought to be followed across the globe in order to build a more prosperous future for the marginalized populations.
As a means to fortify the ties between the two countries, councilors and delegates met at the 2016 China-Nigeria Trade and Economic Forum. The Forum took place on the 31st of March in Abuja, capital of Nigeria. Representatives of China and Nigeria discussed enhancing bilateral relations under the new cooperation plan. China and Nigeria have recorded a total bilateral trade volume of 101 billion dollars from 2004 to 2015. The major commodities imported by Nigeria from China are electrical machinery equipment, machinery and mechanical appliances and vehicles. The major commodities exported by Nigeria to China are mineral resources, wood and agricultural products such as cotton, palm oil seeds and cashew nuts.
Nigeria's Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment Aisha Abubakar stated that the West African country will continue to work closely with China to enhance trade and economic cooperation. According to Ms. Abubakar, a forum of this nature creates an opportunity for stakeholders from both countries to expand business links and deepen relations, further leading to “rapid and sustainable development, wealth generation and reduction in poverty in both countries through the diversification of trade relations" she said. Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria H.E. Gu Xiaojie noted that the forum was an opportunity for business people from both countries to identify new areas of cooperation.