General Electric (GE) has picked Shining Hope for Communities Organization (SHOFCO) in a partnership deal aimed at increasing access to antenatal and maternal healthcare in Kibera slums and other resource-constrained settings where the latter operates.
Under the Sh2.5 million partnership, GE will provide hand-held ultrasound, training and advisory support to help SHOFCO mobilise mothers to seek pre-natal screening.
“Through a range of initiatives across the continent, GE is proud to support better outcomes for mothers and babies across Africa,” said Andrew Waititu, GE General Manager, Healthcare East Africa.
His sentiments were echoed SHOFCO co-founder Kennedy Odede who the initiative will help respond to prenatal and maternal health emergencies.
“These equipment will help reduce unnecessary referrals and decongest the main health facility in Kibera, he said.
Slum dwellers lack access to quality healthcare infrastructure and are more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS and malnutrition amongst children.
Maternal and child mortality rates are about 50 per cent higher than the national average, with an under-five mortality rate of 64 in every 1,000 live births.
Lack of access to proper care during and immediately after delivery contributes to high mother and child mortality.
According to WHO data for Kenya in 2015, maternal mortality rates accounted for 510 deaths per 100,000 live births6 and an infant mortality rate of 36 per 1,000 live births.
Kenya has made significant progress towards reducing the burden of maternal and infant mortality rates.
A 2013 program providing free maternity services in the public sector has shown a doubling of the number of women accessing skilled birth attendance to over one million deliveries in 2016, with 2,000 maternal deaths and 30,000 child deaths avoided annually since 2013.
Last year, the government announced a new program seeking to reach 400,000 underserved expectant mothers by expanding the network of institutions including faith organizations that offer free maternity services.
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