We want all Vietnamese children to have the best start in life: RB Vietnam General Manager.

Tuesday, Jan 21, 2020 09:00

On Soren Bech’s desk is a book that he treasures greatly, a documentary on Metabolic - short for the Project for Supporting Children with Congenital Metabolic Disorders that Mead Johnson Vietnam, now RB Vietnam, has been deploying nation-wide since 2014 in co-operation with the Department of Maternal Health and Children (MHCD) and National Hospital of Pediatrics.

Soren Bech at a meeting with the RB team to discuss the Prevention of Neonatal Jaundice of Infants project.

Joining Mead Johnson Vietnam as General Manager in February 2017, Soren was one of the witnesses of the historic milestone when Mead Johnson was taken over by Reckitt Benckiser (RB) in the largest ever M&A deal by the British FMCG conglomerate.

The project has developed training materials, helped train the core medical obstetrics team to enhance knowledge of screening, diagnosis and treatment of congenital metabolic disorders and sponsored solutions and specialty milks for infants and toddlers diagnosed with congenital metabolic disorders.

Soren Bech, General Manager Reckitt Benckiser Vietnam speaks at the launching and signing ceremony of Oscar project “Prevention of Neonatal jaundice” carried out by the Department of Maternal Health and Children.

Soren shares with us that the goal could not be measured only by its business results and that its contribution to the development of Vietnam should also be considered.

What are the most important achievements of the Metabolic project?

We are delighted along with our partners to help more than 250 children with congenital metabolic diseases regain the lives over the past five years. We share the concerns of society and understand Vietnamese parents’ desire to see their children grow up healthily and happily. This has inspired and motivated us to constantly undertake more community healthcare projects in Vietnam.

Besides the ongoing Metabolic Project, since August 2019 RB Vietnam has also been carrying out the Oscar Project – Prevention and Treatment of Neonatal Jaundice in infants. How will this project contribute to the community?

RB Vietnam has decided to provide more than VND10 billion to a healthcare package with a comprehensive approach similar to the Metabolic project. We will work with the Department of Maternal Health and Children (Ministry of Health) to develop communication materials to raise awareness among people, mothers and caregivers about neonatal jaundice in infants; organize training courses for health workers in early detection, diagnosis and treatment of the disease and also sponsor 100 phototherapy devices for 96 province/district-level health facilities and hospitals nation-wide in a joint effort to reduce the burden on families and society and reduce infant mortality.

Each phototherapy device has a lifespan at least five years, equivalent to 44,000 hours of operations. Health experts expect the 100 phototherapy devices to support early treatment of neonatal jaundice for at least 150,000 newborns over the five years.

Why did RB choose to focus on neonatal jaundice in infants?

Official statistics show that neonatal jaundice in East Asia, including in Vietnam, occurs at six times the rate in Europe. If neonatal jaundice is not detected early, and not treated timely, it will leave very severe sequelae (such as kernicterus), even death.

Therefore, RB Vietnam wants to join hands with the Ministry of Health to help provide early treatment to children with neonatal jaundice around the country, thus giving Vietnamese children the best start. This means a lot to RB Group's sustainable development goals world-wide as well as in Viet Nam.

An RB Vietnam executive hands over a phototherapy device to Cu Kuin District Hospital in Daklak last December.

Can you tell us about the CSR strategy of RB in Viet Nam?

Reckitt Benckiser is more than just a company; we are a growing community present in over 60 countries with more than 40,000 talented and responsible partners hoping to make the world a happier and healthier place

In Viet Nam, we are committed to supporting community health improvement projects. We will continue to co-operate with healthcare professionals and the Ministry of Health to identify the most practical means of support to protect the health of mothers and children.

Other major brands of RB in Vietnam are Strepsils, Gaviscon and Durex. Our products will constantly bring new and inspiring projects to Vietnamese community. Our condom brand Durex is running many sex education campaigns to help young people protect themselves and ensure a healthy life both physically and mentally.

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