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Friday, April 13, 2012

Coca Cola and Healthcare?

During the Mercy Ships patient screening in Lomé, Togo, in February of 2012, approximately 1600 people in desperate need of medical care were evaluated. The day was very long for those patients, their caregivers, and 200 Mercy Ships volunteers. A generous sponsor stepped forward to provide something that gave vital relief.
Brasserie Benin, the producer and distributor for Coca Cola in Benin, and Coca Cola donated 4,800 bottles of VITALE water to be distributed throughout the day. Patient Screening Coordinator Esther Blaum was extremely grateful for the generous contribution. “Given the heat, the ready and ample access to water ensured that people remained properly hydrated. Our youngest and oldest patients are especially vulnerable to extreme temperatures,” she said.
 The following week a special reception was held onboard the hospital ship, the Africa Mercy, to honor Brasserie Benin and Coca Cola for supporting the Mercy Ships screening in such an essential way. Over twenty-five representatives of the donation partners, plus media representatives, attended the event, which included a tour of the state-of-the-art hospital ship.
Following the tour, participants gathered to watch a moving video presentation featuring the transformative work of Mercy Ships.  Donovan Palmer, Africa Mercy Managing Director, extended sincere thanks to Brasserie Benin and Coca Cola for their support. “This type of humanitarian gesture not only assists Mercy Ships with its logistics, but it is also an example of how corporate entities can be part of health care.” The group continued informal discussions as Mr. Bruno Kerguen, Deputy Managing Director of Brasserie Benin, shared news about an additional contribution that was on its way to Mercy Ships.
 “We are donating 450 cartons of VITALE water and Coca Cola soft drinks to support and encourage the volunteer crew of the Africa Mercy. There is a natural alliance we feel with Mercy Ships. This humanitarian mission has the same spirit of excellence as Coca Cola and Brasserie Benin. Mercy Ships helps people to feel better in their body and to give health to them. It is a fabulous partnership for us.”

Mr. Max Adedje, Brasserie Benin’s Export Manager, echoed these sentiments.
“Brasserie Benin greatly appreciates the spirit behind the work of Mercy Ships. The people who volunteer on the Africa Mercy give their talents, resources, and precious times of their life to save others. It is worthy to appreciate and encourage such people.”
Mercy Ships is optimistic that the Brasserie Benin--Coca Cola sponsorship will continue to grow. Mr. Prosper Tchouambe, Coca Cola General Manager, confirmed that optimism by stating, “I am very glad for today. The work of Mercy Ships is new to me, and I am so impressed. The partnership between Coca Cola and Mercy Ships is a very good partnership. We started in Ghana, and now it is extended to Togo. We hope that it will continue to be extended to other countries of Africa.” Mr. Moussa Toure, Coca Cola Operations Director (Benin and Togo), who coordinated the donation between Brasserie Benin and Mercy Ships, summed up how the partners feel about their involvement: “The results are even beyond what we imagined it would be. It is so completely worthwhile.”

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