UNICEF, Statoil Team Up to Reduce Mortality, Boost Newborn Care in Azerbaijan
By Ali Verdiyev
Baku, 16 April, 2008 – UNICEF Azerbaijan Country Office and Norwegian StatoilHydro have launched a landmark partnership in the Azerbaijani capital Baku to help the Azerbaijani government reduce child mortality and improve newborn care.
“UNICEF Azerbaijan is very enthusiastic to initiate collaboration with StatoilHydro on the project designed to improve mother and newborn care and reduce infant mortality in Azerbaijan,” UNICEF Representative in Azerbaijan Hanaa Singer told the media at an official ceremony to launch the new partnership.
The core of proposed activities include introduction of the latest international newborn care package in four selected pilot maternities and utilization of new tools for monitoring of reduction of neonatal mortality in these facilities. The pilots will serve as models of mother and child-friendly environment, partner’s\relatives’ participation at delivery, minimum use of medications, early skin-to-skin contact of newborn and mother, early initiation of exclusive breastfeeding, rooming-in and neonatal resuscitation practices. It is also expected that national evidence-based guidelines and protocols on neonatal care will be developed under this programme. Selected trained staff will disseminate gained experience through training nationwide. Statoil is expected to allocate 200,000 US dollars for modeling activities in the selected four maternities.
“We believe that our cooperation with UNICEF and the Ministry of Health in this initiative will contribute to newborn care in Azerbaijan. New practices and tools will certainly make life better for mothers and children who will benefit directly from the activities at four selected maternities. It is also our hope that this initiative will have a positive impact on the health of many families and communities in the long term. We are thankful to UNICEF for inviting us to participate in this programme and we are happy to initially support it for two years,” said Kristian B.Hausken, StatoilHydro Country Manager in Azerbaijan.
“UNICEF works closely with multi-national corporations, national companies and small- to medium-sized businesses all over the world to identify, design and implement alliances that leverage the strengths of the corporate sector on behalf of children. It is our hope that StatoilHydro can become our long-term partner in our efforts to contribute to the well-being of children in the country,” said Hanaa Singer.
The initiative is also designed to help the Azerbaijani government achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
“Right to survival is one of the fundamental rights of children outlined in UN Convention of the Rights of the Child, which was ratified by the Azerbaijani government in 1992. It is also our hope that the activities under this project will contribute to the government’s effort to fulfill Azerbaijan’s commitment to achieve MDG 4: reduction of child mortality by 2/3 by 2015,” said the UNICEF Representative.
UNICEF is a crucial partner together with the World Bank, the World Health Organization and other international donors in the health sector reforms in Azerbaijan. Infant mortality and newborn care are vital areas in the healthcare sector with big controversy between the official and survey data on the rate and extent of child mortality in the country.
The partnership between UNICEF and StatoilHydro, the biggest offshore oil and gas company in the world, may well serve as an illustration of the emerging trend of the CSR and the involvement of the private sector for the good of society in the country.
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