NICU Soldiers launch ‘Scones for Life’ to support pre-term babies

The inability of some parents to pay bills including that of oxygen for their babies is one of the major challenges at the Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) in many hospitals in the country. 

Some public hospitals charge about GH₵10 per hour for babies on oxygen, that is, GH₵240 per day and many parents go through the frustration of raising money for their pre-term babies on oxygen support. 

A campaign known as the ‘Scones For Life’ which seeks to raise funds in the month of November to support pre-term babies on oxygen kick started on November 1 to provide relief to parents in such situations.

The project is an initiative of NICU Soldiers, an online advocacy and support blog for parents of pre-term babies, with Jumia Logistics and Fiona Foods as partners. 

The founder of NICU Soldiers, MsEfiaAkese explained that the fund raiser was in fulfilment of one of the objectives of her blog, whose aim was to support parents who go through the unfortunate journey of nursing their pre-term babies at the NICU.

“I launched NICU Soldiers early this year to share the experiences of parents, caregivers and health workers at the NICU in order to guide and give hope to parents who find themselves there.

“The idea was borne out of my two personal experiences at the unit in 2017 and 2020. In fulfilment of one of the aims of NICU Soldiers, we are organising a month-long fundraiser to support parents of pre-term babies in commemoration of World Prematurity Day which is observed on November 17 each year,” she said.

“Having been to the NICU twice, I appreciate the financial struggles some parents go through, and have decided to collaborate with these two organisations to raise funds to support babies who need oxygen. I have seen many instances where babies were abandoned at the NICU because of their parents’ inability to settle their bills,” she said.

MsAkese said donors contribute an amount of GH₵20 or more for food items to be delivered to them at no cost, adding that Jumia Logistics and Fiona Foods would deliver scones and other pastries to residents in Accra, Tema and environs. 

“Deliveries of the food items would be made every Friday in the month of November. Anyone who purchases these foods would be making a direct contribution to the project,” she said.

She appealed to donors to send their orders from Mondays to Wednesdays for deliveries to be made on Fridays during the campaign period and added that the deliveries would be free of charge. 

“Anyone who wants to support us can buy it at that price or more. Individuals and corporate institutions may also support us by ordering in bulk or making donations to the oxygen fund”.

“Orders can be made by call or text to 0244996006. I appeal to all to help make this project a success. Our babies need oxygen and the little we contribute can go a long way to save their lives,” she said.

The Head of Sales at Jumia Logistics Services, Mr Richmond Carlos Otu, said the company, as part of its commitment to support the underprivileged in the society, had decided to partner NICU soldiers to make the project a success.

“Without oxygen, these babies cannot live and our business only thrives when people are alive. In addition to saving lives, we are also helping alleviate the financial burdens on some parents who cannot afford the bills,” he said. 

The Chief Executive Officer of Fiona Foods, Ms Fiona Koranteng, said her company would make the best scones and other food items to help raise funds to buy the oxygen for the babies. 

“I didn’t know about an intensive care for neonates till MsAkese discussed her project and blog with me, and although November and December are peak seasons for me, I decided to come on board since it is about saving lives,” she explained.

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