KENYA – Baringo County in Kenya has entered into a partnership with Safaricom, Kenya’s leading telecommunications service provider, to improve access to maternal health at Mugurin Dispensary.

The partnership saw the Safaricom foundation renovate and equip a maternity wing at Baringo County’s Mugurin Dispensary at a cost of 3.2 million (US$28,000).

The dispensary received maternity equipment including oxygen equipment, delivery and recovery beds, baby weighing scales and blood pressure machines to expand healthcare services.

The investment is part of the KES 82 million (US$720,000) maternal health programme that Safaricom Foundation launched in Baringo County in January 2020.

The maternal health programme has so far seen Barwessa Health Centre, Chemolingot Sub-County Hospital and Baringo Referral Hospital renovated at a cost of KES 30 million (US$260,000).

Safaricom Foundation’s health strategy aims at strengthening survival and improved health of mothers and newborns during childbirth as well as early childhood through investment in Maternal, New-born and Child Health programmes.

Kenya loses at least 362 mothers for every 100,000 newborns which means that for every 1,000 babies born, four of them are left without a mother.

According to government statistics, the country loses 22 newborns for every 1,000 live births.

Safaricom Foundation targets at reducing these statistics through health investments in most at risk communities.

It aims to increase access to maternal, neonatal and child health services by strengthening community capacity to seek healthcare, improving referral systems and improving provision of healthcare.

It is fulfilling to see many more women being able to receive maternity care as part of our partnership with the County Government of Baringo,” said Joe Ogutu, Chairman of Safaricom Foundation.

He further said that the Foundation aims to reduce the infant and maternal mortality rates to near zero through fruitful partnerships and engagements with the community.

Safaricom trust M-Pesa Foundation inks US$1.47 m deal to ease access to medical care

Meanwhile, Safaricom’s independent charitable trust M-PESA Foundation and Gertrude’s Hospital Foundation recently launched their telemedicine initiative Daktari Smart in Samburu County.

M-PESA Foundation has invested over KES 168 million (US$1.47m) towards the initiative while Gertrude’s Hospital Foundation will invest over KES 35 million (US$310,000) in the next 3 years in an effort to make treatment more prompt.

Daktari Smart has a kit with electronic medical devices such as the Electronic Stethoscope, Vital Signs Monitor, Derma scope Camera, Ultrasound Machine, Otoscope and the electrocardiogram used to check the heart’s rhythm and electrical activity.

It allows a healthcare worker at a local partner health facility to place electronic medical devices on the patient and the specialist at Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital is then able to see the patient as well as hear their vitals in real time without interpretation from the health worker at the local facility.

The initiative will enable doctors in Samburu County to connect with other medics at Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital for specialist medical advice which will reduce patient referrals and save on costs.

In addition, the Daktari Smart programme will enable Gertrude’s hospital to provide needed specialist care to children in remote areas as well as develop appropriate data and information to support pediatric healthcare across the country.

The programme targets over 32,000 children in Lamu, Samburu, Homabay and Baringo counties aiming to reduce the number of referrals of sick children by allowing county health facilities to have access to specialists.

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