General Electric and charity Shining Hope for Communities Organization (SHOFCO), today announced a new maternal and infant care initiative aimed at increasing access to pre-natal screenings for expectant mothers in Kibera.
Under the $25,000 partnership, GE Healthcare will provide hand-held ultrasound, training and advisory support to help SHOFCO’s mission to mobilize mothers to seek pre-natal screenings. Twenty-four SHOFCO nurses and clinical officers have each received over 40 hours of training. Among the subsidized technologies provided is GE’s hand-held ultrasound device, designed to help primary health workers conduct examinations that may result in the earlier detection of potentially life-threatening pregnancy complications.
SHOFCO is anchored under four pillars: Education, Health, Community Empowerment and Water and Sanitation. Key under the health pillar is the Mother and Child Health incentives program, provided for free to mothers in Kibera. The program is designed to counteract the high child morbidity and mortality rates by encouraging mothers to seek regular antenatal, post-natal, and child welfare services to ensure positive health outcomes for themselves and their children.
According to WHO data for Kenya in 2015, maternal mortality rates accounted for 510 deaths per 100,000 live births and an infant mortality rate of 36 per 1,000 live births. Led by a commitment to improving access and quality of maternal, newborn, and child health care services towards the attainment of Kenya’s Vision 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goal 3 agenda, the Kenyan government has made 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 2013.8 In 2016, 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.