Philips (Amsterdam)

South Africa: Philips and University of Johannesburg Join Hands to Reduce Maternal and Infant Mortality

press release

Johannesburg — Royal Philips Electronics (AEX: PHIA, NYSE: PHG) and the University of Johannesburg (UJ), together with the Gauteng Department of Health today announced the start of a cooperative pilot project focusing on the specialist treatment, retrieval and transfer of high risk mother and child cases in Gauteng. The partnership focuses on equipping a specialized Mother & Child Care ambulance, as well as the training of a specialist retrieval team to effectively manage maternal emergencies to save lives of mothers and children. The ambulance project is part of Philips’ ambition to improve the quality of healthcare in South Africa through meaningful solutions, innovations and partnerships.

“We are proud to be partners on this exciting project” says Jose Fernandes, District Manager, Philips Healthcare South Africa. “We believe that we can significantly reduce maternal, infant and child mortality by using proper equipment and training in emergency care facilities”.

Ambulance project to improve quality of maternal and infant care

This project addresses key challenges in maternal and infant care in South Africa today. Currently, many primary and community based health facilities lack the required equipment, knowledge or expertise to effectively manage maternal emergencies, complicated childbirth or critically ill infants and children. Also the transfer from the primary health facility to the hospital needs improvement; due to limited care facilities during transfer, too often high risk patients arrive in an unstable and deteriorating condition.

By equipping the ambulance with state of the art monitoring and resuscitation equipment and by training a multidisciplinary “specialist retrieval team” consisting of final year emergency medical care students, emergency care practitioners as well as pediatric and emergency medicine registrars; the three partners involved aim to bring solutions for these challenges and improve the quality of maternal and infant care. Operated by the Emergency Medical Care Department at UJ and responding from the Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital, the team will be on hand to render patient care, as well as respond to requests for assistance and transport of patients from provincial health care facilities.

“First-world healthcare is within our reach provided we can get appropriately trained staff with the right equipment to the right patient at the right time. This partnership between University of Johannesburg, Philips and Gauteng Department of Health aims to do just that” said Dr Craig Lambert, Head of Emergency Medical Care at University of Johannesburg.

Philips committed to Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5

With a presence in Africa for over 100 years Philips is committed to providing effective, sustainable and value based healthcare solutions to the continent. Contributing to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 & 5 focusing on the improvement of maternal health and reducing child mortality is at the heart of Philips’ healthcare efforts in Africa and to this end, Philips has developed the Fabric of Africa initiative to foster public-private partnerships to drive this agenda.

Jose Fernandes says: “By partnering with one of the most respected universities in South Africa and with a knowledgeable government body at our side, through the ambulance project we will make a meaningful contribution to MDG 4 & 5.” The reduction of maternal and infant mortality is one of the key challenges of South Africa today and has become an important public priority. According to Human Rights Watch 4,500 mothers die each year, despite the fact that maternity care is free in South Africa.

Project launch at start of Cape Town to Cairo Roadshow 2013

The project will be coordinated by the UJ, and the vehicle will be crewed by a multidisciplinary team from UJ. Philips has provided the specialized monitoring and resuscitation equipment for the ambulance and response vehicle as well as trained the specialist retrieval team to effectively use the equipment on patients. The start of this ambulance project coincides with the fourth consecutive Cape Town to Cairo roadshow 2013. The roadshow is an important vehicle for Philips to raise awareness on how healthcare and lighting solutions can enhance life in Africa. Visiting 18 cities in 17 countries, Philips engages in a dialogue with customers, governments, NGOs and media on the key challenges facing Africa today.

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