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GlaxoSmithKline & HealthProm Launch Safe Childbirth Programme in Azerbaijan

GlaxoSmithKline & HealthProm Launch Safe Childbirth Programme in Azerbaijan

Published 11-28-02

Submitted by GSK

LONDON – Nearly 250,000 refugees in Azerbaijan are to benefit from a new ‘safe childbirth’ initiative, launched today by HealthProm, a charity promoting healthcare for vulnerable groups in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Today, His Excellency Mr Rafael Ibrahimov, The Ambassador for The Republic of Azerbaijan in the UK, will launch the programme in London.

Funded by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) as part of its community investment activities, the three-year programme is part of a national reproductive health strategy developed in conjunction with the Azerbaijan Health Ministry and Azeri NGO, Family and Society. It is targeted at the refugees from the ongoing conflict with neighbouring Armenia, who now live around the capital city Baku, and follows the success of a smaller-scale GSK funded project that has been running for two years.

GSK is investing a further £220,000 to build on the achievements of the first phase and to create sustainable developments in the health status of mothers and their babies. As a result, key staff will be trained in developing facilities and services within the refugee community and in local referral hospitals, and will receive guidance on providing essential basic equipment and materials for prenatal, childbirth and neonatal care.

Greta Beresford, Safe Childbirth Co-ordinator for HealthProm, says, “‘Although some of the refugees have lived in the camps for ten years, many still live in buildings they constructed from whatever they were able to find. Buildings are usually over-crowded and have no running water or sewage systems. Electricity supplies are erratic. Unemployment is high and children receive little education. In winter, the camp becomes a sea of mud.’

‘Drawn from the refugee community, doctors and midwives work hard to improve the health of their community. In addition to problems associated with childbirth, widespread diarrhoeal illnesses, respiratory infections, skin infestations and nutritional deficiencies undermine the health of already impoverished people. It is hoped that the programme will also address the basic healthcare needs of the population as a whole.’

Claire Hitchcock, Director, Europe & International, Global Community Partnerships, says, “Azerbaijan has been an independent republic since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. As a result of its conflict with Armenia the country has some 750,000 refugees to accommodate. This investment by GSK will go some way to ensuring that these vulnerable people do not suffer further due to ill-health and infant mortality.”

HealthProm works to improve the health and social well-being of vulnerable groups throughout the former Soviet Union. Our high quality programmes focus on developing sustainable skills, building multidisciplinary teams, and enhancing clinical practice. For more information, visit

GlaxoSmithKline, one of the world's leading research-based pharmaceutical and health care companies, is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer. For more information, visit

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GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is one of the world's leading pharmaceutical and healthcare companies and is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer. GSK has a comprehensive global programme of community partnerships focused on improving health and education. In the UK, GSK supports over 70 charitable organizations in health, science education, the arts and the environment.

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