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Wellbeing Foundation Africa Welcomes Medela Cares Team to Nigeria on a Technical Programme Assessment and Evaluation Visit to Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) in Hospitals in Lagos, Kwara and Abuja

Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA) welcomed delegates of our esteemed partner, Medela Cares, Dr Nania Schärer-Hernández, Head, Global Medical Affairs and Education and Sioned Hilton, Global Medical Affairs, Medela Cares, Switzerland team to Nigeria on a technical visit to the Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) in the hospitals participating in their Lactation Care and Feeding programme in Abuja, Kwara, and Lagos. The visit is in connection with their 3-day on-the-spot assessment visit to conduct an on-the-ground programme assessment and evaluation.

As a feature of WBFA’s commitment to working towards reducing the mortality rate of neonates in NICU in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 3.2) which is focused on ending preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age, the NICU programme monitoring and evaluation is a giant step towards ensuring the project achieves its goals of improving infant feeding and health outcomes as well as upskilling and enhancing lactation and human milk knowledge, skills and expertise for NICU, maternity and affiliated health care professionals.

In line with this, the Medela Cares team paid a courtesy visit to the NICU, Labour and Postnatal Wards to interact with the mothers and healthcare workers to gain insights into their activities on breastmilk initiation, breastfeeding rates and the data collection and management process of the project.

Dr Nania. Schärer-Hernández, Head, Global Medical Affairs, and Education, and Sioned Hilton, Global Medical Affairs, Medela Cares with the CMD Maitama District Hospital, Healthcare workers, and WBFA Team

Dr. Nania Schärer-Hernández, Head, Global Medical Affairs, and Education, Sioned Hilton, Global Medical Affairs, Medela Cares with the CMD Island Maternity Hospital (LIMH), Dr Omololu, Healthcare workers, and WBFA Team

Founder and President, Wellbeing Foundation Africa and WHO Foundation Ambassador for Global Health, Her Excellency, Mrs Toyin Saraki, pointed out, “A mother’s milk is the first thing a baby wants. Ensuring new mothers are wholly supported to breastfeed is not only critical for the health and wellbeing of the baby: it is linked to all 17 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. By combining innovation, technology and people that are passionately dedicated to a mission, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa in partnership with Medela Cares is committed to supporting members of the UN Global Compact and the UN’s Every Woman Every Child (EWEC)), as we protect, promote and uphold breastfeeding standards and the appropriate use of human milk”.

Dr Nania Schärer-Hernández, Head, Global Medical Affairs and Education says, “Being on the ground in Nigeria helped us assess lactation care in the exact framework of the circumstances and understand what is going on and what can be done to improve Neonatal outcomes. I am extremely happy to be part of such an amazing project that aims to change neonatal outcomes in Nigeria”.

WBFA Kwara team & University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH) Chief Medical Director, Prof. Yusuf DaSilva, the HOD of Paediatrics, Dr Adesiyun Omotayo

With a mandate of improving the support offered to new mothers in Nigeria by delivering NICU-specific education and training on the value of human milk and how to build a sufficient milk supply for long-term breastfeeding, Dr Nania Schärer-Hernández, and Sioned Hilton gave presentations to a room full of healthcare workers, Data Assistants and the participating hospital’s management on important aspects of the project such as ‘Time-to-first expression, ‘Frequency of expression in all infants’, ‘Time to milk 'coming in,' ‘Coming to volume’, ‘Proportion of daily feeds’, and ‘Breastfeeding rates in NICU’, She also explained scientific perspectives on ‘The Science behind breastfeeding after birth’, ‘Own Mother's Milk (OMM) as a medical intervention for vulnerable infants’, and ‘the Mother's lactation journey’ while emphasizing on the need for accurate data collection during the project’s lifespan.

Speaking on her team’s visit, Annette Brüls, CEO of Medela worldwide, added, “We are honoured to support the Wellbeing Foundation Africa. Thank you for your leadership and passion for improving health in Nigeria”.

Mid-July, Wellbeing Foundation Africa, Kwara donated one additional breast pump to the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH) which was received by the Chief Medical Director, Prof. Yusuf DaSilva, the HOD of Paediatrics, Dr Adesiyun Omotayo in Kwara state and CMD, Dr Omololu Olufemi while reiterating the hospital’s commitment to the continued success of the Medela Lactation Project at the Hospitals. An additional breast pump donation is scheduled to be made to the Lagos Island Maternity Hospital (LIMH) by the end of July.

In the next phase of the project, Wellbeing Foundation Africa and Medela Cares will continue to work together with high-level neonatal facilities alongside its network of midwives who facilitate its Mamacare360 classes to establish quality maternal and newborn care.

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