Ernest Niba Che is a medical student at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), a scholar of MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program at KNUST (MCFSP at KNUST). I am passionate about good health and well-being.
Attending World Merit's Merit360 has been the most amazing term of my life.
I worked with 359 young leaders from 85 countries to design projects to tackle the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. I was in a team of 19, from 15 different countries, working on a project to tackle the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3 - Good Health and Well-Being, specifically, reducing infant and maternal mortality in Nigeria as a pilot country. The project involves educating women and local health workers on how to reduce risk factors during childbirth and providing local health centres with Safer Integrated Mother and Infant (SIMI) kits containing Misoprostol for Post-partum haemorrhage and Chlorhexidine for neonatal sepsis which accounts for 1 million of neonatal deaths worldwide. The kit will also contain other birthing essentials.
So far the SIMI program has educated 150 mothers and we want to help take the program to the next level. This involves the creation and distribution of SIMI kits and we aim to distribute 500 SIMI kits in the next 9 months.
We were blessed to have caught the interest of investors, at the end of our pitch at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, who are willing to provide the finances for the start up. World Merit will provide a global platform to spread awareness of the program. What makes the program unique is that it recognises the importance of community education and engagement.
The SIMI kit is expected to reach a marginal cost of $28. This cost is cheaper than any cost of such kits in the market to attract more buyers and ensure sustainability. Thus saving two lives with $28 and educate not only the saved mother and child, but a generation. It is estimated that 830 women will die during childbirth, but the quicker we act, the sooner we stop it.
It was a great experience working with such brilliant minds and increase my network with others. An incredible 16 days filled with hard work, passion, impact, reflection and the building of life-time friendships, I learnt that with determination and collaborative leadership, we can find solutions to the world's most pressing issues.
All thanks to Chris Arnold, Marlou Hermsen, the entire World Merit Office, MCFSP at KNUST Secretariat as well as all guests and speakers. Merit360 might be over, but the impact, actions and friendships will stay for years to come. We are one world, one community, one family.