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The demonstration phase of the innovative UNFPA-Philips partnership officially starts in Congo

15 Dec 2021

The demonstration phase of the innovative UNFPA-Philips partnership officially starts in Congo
The Dutch Ambassador, H.E. Jolke Oppewal, meets with the Minister of Health and Population (MOHP) of the Republic of Congo, Gilbert Mokoki, and visits one of the focus healthcare centers. © UNFPA Congo

Republic of Congo - Today, the Eboteli project, an innovative maternal health initiative from the Government, UNFPA and the health technology company Royal Philips officially started. A few days prior to the launch of the initiative, the Dutch Ambassador, H.E. Jolke Oppewal, met with the Minister of Health and Population (MOHP) of the Republic of Congo, Gilbert Mokoki, and visited one of the focus healthcare centers (see picture). 

This marks the start of the first phase of this public-private partnership to reduce maternal and newborn mortality rates by 50 percent over the next five years, especially in remote areas. The demonstration phase will be rolled out over the next 18 months to test and refine the model. Under the overall leadership of the government, UNFPA and Philips will focus on five districts to upgrade 19 health facilities with new infrastructure and technology as well capacity-building support for healthcare professionals. Moreover, the initiative is based on an innovative financing model to generate and redistribute additional revenue for the health system.

Eboteli Project: Accelerating Progress on Maternal Health

The overall objective of this large-scale Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (EmONC) programme is to improve access to high-quality and affordable maternal, neonatal and child health care for more than 500,000 women and 70,000 newborns in the Republic of the Congo. The Minister was meeting staff involved in preparing the center for new equipment and technology to be provided by Philips over several months. 

Mohamed Lemine Salem Ould Moujtaba, Country Representative at UNFPA Republic of Congo, said that “Zero preventable maternal and neonatal deaths are possible in Congo. By focusing on maternal and child health through innovative and inclusive solutions. Through a  public-private partnership between the Government of Congo, Phillips and UNFPA we can ensure that indigenous women and poor women in rural and peri-urban areas are not left behind.” 
 
Preparatory Work for the Programme

Before the official start of the initiative this month, UNFPA had already rolled out training for midwives in the targeted health facilities, provided commodities and equipment for mobile clinics and centers, and strengthened health data and quality monitoring systems throughout the year. This support was critical to address the needs that arose from the COVID-19 pandemic. On their end, Philips has provided equipment and infrastructure work in the central hospital in Talangai, which includes building a solar power system alongside upgrading the electrical facilities. Philips has provided community outreach backpacks to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, deployed equipment in three health districts, and initiated infrastructure works (solar power system, water supply, rehabilitation works) at the district hospital and in the five primary health facilities of the Talangai health district.

“As part of our commitment to improving the lives of 2.5 billion people per year by 2030 through innovation, Philips has the ambition to expand access to care for 400 million people in underserved communities. We can only transform healthcare at scale by teaming up with local and international partners. We are proud to be partnering with UNFPA in the Republic of Congo, where we have been able to bring all relevant players together in a strong innovative partnership to design and implement the Eboteli project”, highlighted Jan-Willem Scheijgrond, Head of Government & Public Affairs at Philips.

Overall Ambition of the Partnership

UNFPA has been in a global partnership with Philips since 2018 and to improve the health and well-being of 50 million women and girls in countries where health challenges are greatest. The project in Congo is the first exploration of this partnership. The partnership is moreover part of Philips’ wider commitment to the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25 in 2019 to work in partnership to mobilize up to US$100 million in investments and implement large-scale healthcare transformation projects for healthy pregnancies, safe deliveries and newborn care in Africa. 

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