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Leverkusen / Basel, Switzerland, July 24, 2019 – Bayer and White Ribbon Alliance today announced they will extend their partnership and expand their initiative to help women in low and middle income countries gain the knowledge and confidence needed to direct their health and that of their families. The initiative, which launched in 2015, focuses on using self-care to improve maternal, infant and child health, reaching the most vulnerable individuals in underserved countries.
Bayer and White Ribbon Alliance have committed to working together for another three years, supported by a $1.5 million commitment from Bayer. This builds on the $1.3 million in programs and services Bayer committed to the partnership in 2015. Bayer and White Ribbon Alliance implemented self-care programs in Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and Bolivia in the first phase of the partnership and will undertake programs in Mexico and Indonesia in the next phase. To date, the programs have engaged more than 8,000 women in more than 90 communities.
Self-care – defined as the ability of people to manage their own health – is essential in helping people achieve better everyday health, while supporting healthcare systems worldwide to become more sustainable. When people are empowered to take care of themselves and their loved ones every day – not just when they are sick – they have a better quality of life now and in the future.
“When we began this partnership four years ago, we recognized the need to improve health outcomes for women, infants and children in underserved countries, and lessen the increasing strain on health systems, providers and communities,” said Heiko Schipper, President, Bayer Consumer Health and member of the Bayer AG Board of Management. “Self-care is a powerful tool in helping people achieve better everyday health. By joining forces with White Ribbon Alliance, we are helping to change lives and supporting healthcare systems worldwide to become more sustainable. We are proud of the impact we have made and look forward to expanding our important work with White Ribbon Alliance as part of Bayer’s efforts to empower individuals to transform their everyday health and the health of those they love.”
Bayer and White Ribbon Alliance are promoting self-care through local community programs at. As a result of the initiative, women and families are planning and maintaining healthy pregnancies, making better daily choices regarding nutrition and hygiene for themselves and their children, and identifying emergencies and understanding when to seek help from healthcare professionals. The partnership began as a response to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and a commitment to the Every Woman Every Child movement.
Bayer and White Ribbon Alliance programs are designed in a participatory way with communities to address local cultural norms, traditions, wisdom and conditions. In Bangladesh, where it is taboo for men and women to speak openly about pregnancy and childbirth, the program supported men to sit directly outside of meeting rooms to listen and participate in self-care teachings about maternal health. Employing a community-centric approach has increased the program’s impact and empowered community members and leaders to participate in its implementation and take ownership of its success.
The partnership is supporting this effort through successes including:
• In Bangladesh, Bayer and White Ribbon Alliance have empowered more than 1,000 families – including 800 men – with self-care knowledge around pregnancy, nutrition and hygiene, resulting in a 20% increase in early prenatal care services.
• In Bolivia, White Ribbon Alliance and Management Sciences for Health Peru have engaged local governments to ensure that children and babies from 11 rural communities were identified and registered for food assistance. Community women leaders also developed a recipe book to support nutrition education with traditional recipes using locally available foods and government nutrition guidelines.
• In Zimbabwe, Bayer partnered with White Ribbon Alliance to develop a curriculum to educate community health workers and women about pregnancy care resulting in a 50% increase in facility-based births. More than 4,700 women have participated in the program, and there have been zero maternal deaths among program participants during the implementation.
“Through self-care, women and girls are taking control of their everyday health and lives,” said Betsy McCallon, CEO of White Ribbon Alliance. We call on everyone, including those outside of health, to work together and remove barriers so that women can proactively care for themselves, organize their communities and advocate for their health needs.”
Bayer and White Ribbon Alliance embrace this unique public-private partnership model that is driven by individuals and communities while supported at the global level with technical expertise and resources. Over the next three years, the partnership will build on this solid foundation and expand to reach new communities in Mexico and Indonesia.
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of health care and nutrition. Its products and services are designed to benefit people by supporting efforts to overcome the major challenges presented by a growing and aging global population. At the same time, the Group aims to increase its earning power and create value through innovation and growth. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development, and the Bayer brand stands for trust, reliability and quality throughout the world. In fiscal 2018, the Group employed around 117,000 people and had sales of 39.6 billion euros. Capital expenditures amounted to 2.6 billion euros, R&D expenses to 5.2 billion euros. 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. We help citizens recognize and seize their power to demand that all women and girls realize their right to quality health and well-being. Citizen engagement is at the heart of everything we do, because when people are directly involved in the shaping the policies and services that affect them, progress happens faster and lasts for generations. To learn more, visit our website: www.whiteribbonalliance.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.
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