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Leverkusen, July 14, 2017 – Bayer and the White Ribbon Alliance (WRA) announce that two-years into their partnership and less than one year from community project launch, their Every Woman Every Child commitment to empower women to practice self-care has reached 1,200 women in 91 communities across four developing countries. The announcement comes after the July 2016 release of self-care policy recommendations from Bayer and WRA, and the partnership’s launch of local community programs to support the reduction and prevention of maternal, newborn and child mortality in developing countries including Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Indonesia and Bolivia.
“When we’re talking about how to transform health for women and girls, we should be talking about a fundamental change in how we think about health care,” said Erica Mann, President Consumer Health Division and Member of the Board of Management, Bayer AG. “When women can access and understand health information, their health and well-being and that of their children are less at risk. Self-care gives women the tools and skills to take charge of their own health, which in turn improves their lives and the lives of generations of girls and women, and eases the burden on overstretched health systems by reducing costs and increasing effectiveness.”
Self-care is the foundation of maternal, newborn and child healthcare. This includes giving people the tools, knowledge and resources to get well, be well and stay well. In Indonesia, the self-care project addresses current health care needs, in Bangladesh it addresses birth preparedness and education, in Bolivia it addresses nutrition and in Zimbabwe, the self-care project addresses the high maternal mortality rate in Kwekwe District by increasing effective birth preparedness for emergency situations, increasing knowledge about birth complications and informing community members of their rights.
“I booked my prenatal care appointments early so that I can be assessed and be given information about the pregnancy, for example, the well-being of the baby and myself. That gave me satisfaction and confidence,” said one woman in Kwekwe who participated in the project.
Bayer/White Ribbon Alliance Partnership
Today’s announcement comes at the two-year anniversary of the Bayer/WRA commitment in support of the United Nations Every Woman Every Child movement and contributes to the success of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Established through a three-year, USD 1.3 million commitment from Bayer in 2015, the self-care programs complement work that is underway by WRA in Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and Indonesia, and expands their work to Bolivia.
With a goal of providing self-care knowledge to underserved women and their families, these programs deliver education and skills to give women the confidence to take charge of their personal and family health before, during and after childbirth. White Ribbon Alliance leads the implementation effort, which focuses on vital health issues and barriers to care, including nutrition, birth preparedness, newborn care, hygiene, and self-care policy advancement and advocacy.
The partnership is key in Bayer’s commitment to continuing progress in this critical time of need, as outlined in public policy recommendations released by White Ribbon Alliance and Bayer in 2016. The policy paper, “Self-Care: A Cost Effective Solution for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health for All” underscores the potential of self-care to drive forward recommended global policies and interventions.
“We must reframe health care and put women at the center in partnership with health providers the health system,” said Betsy McCallon, CEO, White Ribbon Alliance. “When women and communities are equipped with information about health services and rights, they become empowered agents to improve their health and that of their families, making self-care a vital component of global, national and local health policy and practice.”
“In Zimbabwe women do not have adequate information they need to make decisions about their health before, during and after childbirth. This increases the chance of complications that lead to illness and death among women and newborns,” said Gretel Mahere, District Nursing Officer for Kwekwe. “The good news is that the work we are doing is already having a powerful impact, improving the knowledge and confidence of the women in the program and is showing early signs of success in our community.”
UN Every Woman Every Child
The Bayer and WRA partnership is part of the UN Every Woman Every Child movement.
“The Bayer, White Ribbon Alliance and Every Woman Every Child partnership, contributes to the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health which, will help further the success of the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Kathy Calvin, President and CEO of the United Nations Foundation. “This mission aims to keep women, children and adolescents at the heart of the sustainable development agenda, unlocking their vast potential for transformative change.”
Previous self-care efforts have not achieved broad reform, focusing instead on disease-specific or physician-specific initiatives. But self-care must start more broadly and focus on the individual in order to be effective for long-term health impact personally, societally and across generations.
With nearly 1,200 women impacted through their work thus far, Bayer, and White Ribbon Alliance, supported by Every Woman Every Child, are committed to addressing obstacles to self-care in maternal, newborn and child health. By continuing to implement systemic and structural changes on global, national and local levels, health systems can empower women to trust themselves, know their rights and take actions which improve their health and that of their community.
Bayer: Science For A Better Life
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the Life Science fields of health care and agriculture. Its products and services are designed to benefit people and improve their quality of life. At the same time, the Group aims to create value through innovation, growth and high earning power. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development and to its social and ethical responsibilities as a corporate citizen. In fiscal 2016, the Group employed around 115,200 people and had sales of EUR 46.8 billion. Capital expenditures amounted to EUR 2.6 billion, R&D expenses to EUR 4.7 billion. These figures include those for the high-tech polymers business, which was floated on the stock market as an independent company named Covestro on October 6, 2015. For more information, go to www.bayer.com.
About White Ribbon Alliance
White Ribbon Alliance is a powerful network of advocates working for maternal and newborn health and rights at the local, national and global levels. With members throughout Africa, Asia, Europe and the United States, WRA mobilizes citizens, helping them recognize and seize their power to demand that all women and their children are safe and healthy before, during and after childbirth. For more information, visit our website at whiteribbonalliance.org.
About United Nations Every Woman Every Child
Launched in 2010 and led by the UN Secretary-General, the Every Woman Every Child movement aims to intensify national and international commitment and action by governments, the UN, multilaterals, private sector and civil society to keep women's, children's and adolescents' health and wellbeing at the heart of development. As a multi-stakeholder platform to operationalize the Every Woman Every Child Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health, the movement mobilizes partnerships and coordinated efforts across sectors to ensure that all women, children and adolescents not only survive, but also thrive to help transform the world. Since 2015, 62 country and around 150 multi-stakeholder commitments have been pledged in support of the EWEC Global Strategy, totaling nearly US$30 billion to deliver on the promises of a sustainable future for all. More information at http://www.everywomaneverychild.org
This release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Bayer’s public reports which are available on the Bayer website at www.bayer.com. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.