Friday, 14 July 2017

UNFPA, Philips Take Primary Care to 40,000 Kenyan Women against Maternal Deaths

Rebecca Ejifoma
Determined to improve access to quality primary healthcare and decrease maternal and infant mortality rates, the Philips Community Life Centre in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has taken quality primary care to a community of 40,000 people in one of the world’s most challenging regions: Mandera County in Kenya.

The new primary care and community hub is part of Philips’ ongoing commitment to improve access to quality primary healthcare and to decrease maternal and infant mortality rates – a huge challenge across sub-Saharan Africa.

In a press release issued today, July 13, Mandera County Government, UNFPA and Philips deliver on their commitment to implement Kenya’s second Community Life Centre (CLC) in order to advance reproductive, maternal and newborn health.
According to the CLC platform, it aims to strengthen primary care and enable community development in a County that has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world.

The Mandera CLC demonstrates that in low-resource and vulnerable settings, public-private partnerships and innovation can leapfrog primary healthcare systems.
Scalable modular concepts is part of Philips’ new business model to improve access to care and to further grow footprint in Africa.

Philips is a global leader in health technology, in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) ( and the Government of Mandera County, today opened a new CLC in the County.

CLC is a scalable, self-sufficient concept for primary healthcare delivery that Philips is pioneering in Africa, and which it aims to introduce across the continent.

One of the world’s highest maternal mortality ratios
In Sub-Saharan Africa, four in ten people have no access to health facilities or personnel, and for those that do have access, the quality of services is often low. The need for primary healthcare in the County  is unparalleled; it is a hard to reach, unsecure and an arid part of North-Eastern Kenya, with one of the world’s highest maternal mortality ratios amounting to 3,795 per 100,000 live birth.

The organisations say this rate surpasses that of wartime Sierra Leone (2000 deaths per 100,000 live births) and is far above Kenya’s national average (448 deaths per 100,000 live births). At the same time the County, a border region, struggles with a growing population of refugees fleeing the Somalian civil war and in need of care.

The newly inaugurated CLC, at Dandu Ward of the County, is an important milestone for partners under the Private Sector Heath Partnership Kenya and will provide the community with modern, integrated quality health services for mother and child care, diagnosis and treatment of communicable diseases, and general health services. At the same time, it will offer the community clean energy supply, employment opportunities, and going forward, the potential to develop commercial activities, and a secure social activity hub within reach of over 40,000 (forty thousand) people.

The Chief Executive Officer of Philips Africa, Jasper Westerink said: “The healthcare challenges in Mandera are hugely concerning; and they are a reflection of the issues and realities faced by millions of individuals in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

He added that Philips had been dedicated to advancing primary healthcare in Africa for many years, with a strong focus on mother and child care. Through the Philips CLC platform, he maintained that they had introduced a new value delivery model. “Our ambition is to introduce this model throughout Africa to drastically improve access to primary care.”

The CEO affirmed further that the issues facing primary care in Africa were complicated and multifaceted and in order to create sustainable improvement, addressing a wide range of issues collectively is needed. Challenges include a lack of qualified healthcare workers, non-operability of available medical equipment, lack of electricity, water and basic healthcare technology, sustainability, and a lack of reliable data.

Following the epoch-making partnership, Westerink lauded the County Government and the UNFPA team, who are their partners in co-creating and launching the unique and impactful platform. “We remain committed to this initiative and look forward to providing continuous support and improvements to the facility in the County.”

About the Philips Community Life Centres
Philips has been developing and modifying the CLC platform since 2014 when it opened its first site in Kiambu county Kenya. The second CLC was inaugurated in Tadu village in the Democratic Republic of Congo in November 2016. And there is a strong project pipeline of multiple CLCs sites in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The CLC in the County was developed in close partnership with the local authorities and the community right from the beginning phases including assessment and design; it is a turnkey solution developed by the community for the community.

Scalable Modular Self-sufficient Concept
The flexibility and modularity of the CLC platform allows it to be tailored to the local healthcare requirements, in terms of the service package offered, the volume of patients, and local needs and circumstances.

The CLC in the County will act as a vital community hub where technology is bundled with health services. The technology package includes: solar power (for a reliable and clean energy supply), efficient and durable indoor and outdoor LED-lighting (enabling extended opening hours and providing security to patients and staff), health care equipment (to enable patient monitoring, diagnosis and triage), laboratory equipment (especially for antenatal care tests) and refrigeration (blood storage).

Phase two will include IT-solutions (storage of patient data) and water supply and purification (preventing waterborne diseases). In addition to the improvement of the facility, Philips has also supplied Outreach Kits that allow community health volunteers to extend basic health services into the community.

The project, which supports the drive for universal health coverage by 2030 as set out in the UN Sustainable Development Goal 3, also includes a building refurbishment program, accompanied with new furniture installation and capacity strengthening for all aspects of care, including clinical, application and technical training. This will ultimately strengthen the County’s community and primary healthcare system, improving both preventive and curative healthcare as well as social and economic development.

Now, Dr. Ademola Olajide, UNFPA Country Representative to Kenya, described the inauguration of the CLC in Mandera as an important milestone in finding new ways for significantly advancing maternal and new-born health outcomes in the six counties in Kenya, which contribute close to 50% of all maternal deaths in the country. We look forward to continue learning from its operations and seeing how it will contribute to improvement in the lives and well-being in the community”.

Speaking also, the Governor of Mandera County, H.E Ali Roba explained that the their partnership with Philips and UNFPA comes at a time when the County had a high incidence of maternal and newborn mortality resulting from preventable causes and lack of medical facilities.

He added: “This co-operation is reflective of the kind of partnerships we seek to participate in with the private sector and the UN that results in uplifting the lives of our communities.”

Therefore, having taken such step to stemming the scourge of maternal and newborn deaths in Kenya, the organisations hope for a positive result to enhance quality of health services to women and children.

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