On January 6, PharmAccess, in partnership with the M-PESA Foundation,Amref and the Kenyan Ministry of Health through the Samburu CountyHealth Management team, realized the opening and hand over of two newly equipped health facilities in Samburu County.
The health facilities have been refurbished and upgraded with new equipment, a fully stocked pharmacy, trained staff and new emergency transport to improve maternal and newborn health outcomes in the region. The two centers, which include comprehensive maternal, newborn and child health facilities, were implemented at a cost of Sh36.2 million (33,5360 euro).
“Mothers who need care can now visit these centers as opposed to going to Maralal District Hospital, which is over two hours away. We believe this will create a basis for transformative care, reducing pregnant mothers and children dying from preventable causes,” said Bob Collymore, CEO of Safaricom and M-PESA Foundation trustee before officially handing over the facilities to the Samburu county.
Samburu is the second poorest counties in Kenya with four out of five people living on less than $1 per day. Gaining access to resources is a key challenge in this region. Research shows that nearly one third of the population has inadequate access to health, water and education services. Not surprisingly, most maternal and newborn health indicators are lower than the national average, with for example skilled deliveries at 32% versus 44% nationally. Estimates place the number of deaths due to maternal issues at over 472 for every 100,000 births in Samburu. One of the factors hindering skilled deliveries is transport to the facilities.
Through the program, this public-private partnership is fulfilling unmet needs by strengthening the whole health service delivery infrastructure in Samburu. During the ceremony Onno Schellekens, Managing Director of PharmAccess, highlighted that through this partnership an increase of 90% in the number of antenatal care visits has already been registered. This highlights the need for more innovative partnerships like this, acting as a bridge for increased healthcare financing.
“We need to reach every woman and child with lifesaving interventions and it is our hope that this comprehensive project will ease the burden and provide a new lease of life to the mothers, newborns and children of this community,” said Moses Kasaine Lenolkulal, Governor of Samburu.
The program includes, the reconstruction and renovation of Suguta Mar Mar Health Centre and Barsaloi dispensary, installation of new medical equipment and the provision of two motorbike ambulances and one 4×4 ambulance to support emergency transport for pregnant women to health facilities. The program also includes continuous monitoring of quality improvement of both health facilities to ensure sustainable access to quality healthcare.
In addition to these resources, 40 health workers have been trained in emergency obstetric care and an additional 70 Community Health Volunteers are being trained using a Health Enabling and Learning Platform (HELP platform). Also, the community health volunteers and health workers can make use of a newly developed revolutionary m-learning solution through which they can access a dedicated e-learning centre in Maralal hospital to ensure continuous training. Moreover, to support referral efforts, Safaricom installed a Base Station in Barsaloi and enhance coverage in Opiroi.
The event was attended by:
- On behalf of Samburu County: Hon. Moses Kasaine Lenolkulal, Governor
- On behalf of Amref: Dr Lennie Bazira, Josephine Lesiamon and Dr Peter Ngatia
- On behalf of PharmAccess: Doriane Nzorubara, Millicent Olulo, Pieter Walhof and Onno Schellekens
- On behalf of Safaricom: Bob Collymore, Joseph Ogutu and Sanda Ojiambo
- On behalf of M-PESA Foundation: Les Baillie