There are organisations whose investments in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and footprints in the fight against the deadly breast cancer, as well as other health-related and development-inhibiting societal issues have been outstanding. Brand Communications specialist, LERE OJEDOKUN, x-rays how Polaris Bank stands out in the brand’s commitment to the fight against breast cancer and other existential challenges in Nigeria.
Polaris Bank’s commitment to the Triple Bottomline (TBL) business value – People, Planet and Profit – has been phenomenal.
Beyond the remit of core banking, the Bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) footprints and interventions in women-focused and other societal issues in Nigeria have been quiet significant.
Through its numerous social responsibility initiatives, Polaris Bank in addition to rolling out innovative banking products and services for customers across different strata has demonstrated commitment to enhancing the quality of life for Nigerians outside of its traditional function of providing financial services.
The Bank’s implementation of specifically-tailored and targeted solutions towards solving some existential challenges in the society includes support for the fight against breast cancer in Nigeria. Globally, October every year is observed as Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) to raise awareness of the disease, impact and to uptake action for prevention, as well as care and support for patients and survivors.
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide, with 2.26 million cases recorded in 2020, and the fifth leading cause of global cancer deaths. Cancer generally is a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for 7.6 million deaths and around 13 per cent of all deaths in 2008.
Healthcare is one of the strategic pillars of Polaris Bank’s CSR and through its partnership with Care. Organization. Public Enlightenment (C.O.PE), Nigeria’s foremost breast cancer awareness and advocacy non-governmental organisation, the Bank has provided free breast cancer screening to over 20,000 women in Nigeria over the decade. It has equally supported over 30 indigent cancer patients for treatment; and donated ultra-modern cancer screening machines to C.O.P.E to enhance quality diagnosis and clinical practices serving for all classes of women in Nigeria.
The Bank has sponsored Breast Cancer Survivors’ End-of-Year Get-Together to boost the morale of breast cancer survivors, as well as organised a 10-km walk at two different locations within Lagos metropolis attended by over 2,500 participants, to draw public attention to cancer scourge.
The Bank’s Group Head, Strategic Brand Management, Nduneche Ezurike, noted that through its various supports, the Bank has contributed significantly to stemming breast cancer in the country. ‘‘We have covered five key milestones namely: awareness, advocacy, capacity-building, prevention, and treatment in an ongoing effort to reverse the negative impact of the scourge and other related health complications,’’ he said.
Polaris Bank has also been at the forefront of domesticating many global actions to reduce premature deaths among women. The Bank in partnership with Societal Healthcare Organisation (SHO) trained 50 community midwives and health extension workers in Northern Nigeria themed, Life Saving Skills (LSS).
The Bank also donated medical consumables comprising umbilical cord scissors, latex sterile gloves, delivery mats, surgical blades, cord clamps, povidone iodine, baby oil, hand sanitisers, facemasks and branded bags to hospitals. The 3-day training for the health workers was part of commitment to reduce mortality and morbidity associated with major causes of maternal and neonatal death in the country.
Furthermore, the Bank has raised its support for women by partnering Sisters-Keepers Initiative, a Northern Nigeria-based NGO, as part of steps to address social issues affecting women and the most vulnerable groups in the region. The maiden conference held in Kano and tagged, ‘Celebrating the Arewa Woman’ featured guest speakers and panelists who shared perspectives on how best social issues could be addressed in the Northern part of Nigeria.
Creating more opportunities for women inclusion is also uppermost for Polaris Bank. To demonstrate this, it partnered with Pacegate Limited, one of the leading manufacturers of UN Certified Steel Drums and distributor of Adipro Lubricant Additives to promote inclusive quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all, as enshrined in Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 4).
The intervention aimed at driving human capital development and combating climate change in Nigeria, saw the Bank provide essential school supplies such as school bags, pens, books, sandals and uniforms to over 1,400 schoolgirls in secondary schools in Kano, Lagos and Imo states respectively.
This type of affirmative action by Polaris Bank certainly aligned with the world’s leading research for Climate change solutions, Project Drawdown, which states that provision of education for the girl-child is one of the solutions that have a positive, long-lasting impact in addressing the effects of global warming.
The hugely visible human face component of Polaris Bank’s business ethics has also seen the Bank’s Feminine Hygiene Campaign, an advocacy and capacity-building initiative on menstrual hygiene for girls, impacted hundreds of school girls in nine secondary schools in three states across North Central and North East geopolitical zones of the country respectively.
Through the feminine hygiene campaign, the Bank significantly helps bridge the knowledge gap on female hygiene, correct unhealthy hygiene practices among secondary school girls; as well as identifies the environmental school challenges affecting the effective management of feminine hygiene promotion in schools to enable girl-child education.
The Federal Teaching Hospital (FTH), Gombe in Gombe State also received the Bank’s kindness with the donation of multi-million Naira state-of-the-art hydraulic/electric hospital beds to enhance patients’ management and make life more comfortable for recuperating patients. The beds help patients to turn over with ease, relieve paralysed patients of bruising their body and protect patients from decubitus, while the gesture was in line with the SDG 3 on ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all ages.
Polaris Bank’s consistent support for Nigeria’s health sector and other developmental initiatives has been widely acknowledged. One of them is the recent recognition of the Bank as the “Outstanding Healthcare Financial Institution of the Year” by the Nigeria Healthcare Excellence Awards (NHEA), the nation’s premier health award body.
Polaris Bank has also been adjudged the Digital Bank of the Year, thus affirming it as a future-determining Bank committed to delivering industry-defining products to individuals and businesses.
By deepening commitment to social investment and interventions in critical components of the United Nations (UN) 17 SDGs, the Bank’s impact in widening the horizon and raising boundless potential for Nigerians across different socio-economic classes is a proven fact.