18 September 2017

Kenya: Kibera Receives Sh2.5 Million for New Maternal, Infant Care Initiative

Nairobi — When compared to nationwide statistics, slums within Nairobi face staggering disparity in all aspects of life.

The inaccessibility and poor quality of healthcare, coupled with the low take up rate of health services result in many adverse effects such as HIV/AIDS prevalence.

In Kibera, the adult HIV/AIDS prevalence rate is at 14pc, double the national rate of 6 percent and with about 1.6 million people living with HIV infection according to statistics by National AIDS and STIs Control Programme (NASCOP).

Increased rate of infant mortality: Kibera mortality rates are 3 or 4 times the Nairobi average. While 47 pc of children in slums showed moderate stunting, 23.4pc showed severe stunting.

While there has been a reduction in worldwide child mortality rates within the last decade, 7.6 million children younger than 5 years died in 2010, and out of these deaths over 3 million occurred in the first 28 days of life.

Although a large number of these fatalities are preventable, a 2008 study conducted in Nairobi slums revealed that only 44pc of children were fully vaccinated, and when plagued with diarrhoea, only 24pc of children whose mothers were uneducated were taken for treatment, while 55pc of mothers with some formal education brought their children to a healthcare provider.

While receiving a $25,000 partnership with GE Healthcare, CEO Shining Hope for Communities Organizations (SHOFCO) Kennedy Odede said that only 52pc of births in Kibera occurred at healthcare facilities.

"Primary causes for such overwhelming statistics are the inaccessibility or low take up rate of quality health care services and lack of health education in developing countries," said Odede.

In an interview with Capital News desk, Odede noted that the partnership with GE Healthcare will benefit the community with a new maternal and infant care initiative aimed at increasing access to prenatal screenings of expectant mothers.

"Partnership between GE Healthcare and SHOFCO will help reduce unnecessary referrals and decongesting the main health facility in Kibera.

Under the partnership, GE Healthcare will provide hand held ultrasound, training and advisory support to help mobilize mothers to seek prenatal screenings.

"Twenty four SHOFCO nurses and clinical officers have each received over 40 hours of training," stated the General Manager GE Healthcare Andrew Waititu.

Slum dwellers lack access to quality healthcare infrastructure and are more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS and malnutrition among children

A lack of access to proper care during and immediately after delivery contributes to high mother and child mortality, as Monica a clinical officer at SHOFCO explains.

"Most of the heal facilities available in the slums lack appropriate equipment to deal with prenatal and maternal health emergencies in addition to a shortage of skilled personnel needed to provide emergency obstetric care."

"In a day we handle close to 800 cases, this solution, to be deployed at SHOFCO's Subra and Makina Satellite clinics will help reduce unnecessary referrals and decongesting the main health facility in Kibera," she stated.

"Through a range of initiatives across the continent, we are proud to support better outcomes for mothers and babies across Africa," said Waititu.

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