A new community life centre in Mandera county has brought hope of reducing cases of maternal and infant mortality.
Mandera has one of the world’s highest maternal mortality ratios, 3,795 per 100,000 live births. The rate surpasses that of wartime Sierra Leone—2,000 deaths per 100,000 live births—and is far above Kenya’s national average of 448 deaths per 100,000 live births.
Mandera, a border county, also struggles with a growing population of refugees fleeing the Somalian civil war and in need of care.
The CLC project by Philips aims at improving access to quality primary healthcare for about 40,000 people and decreasing maternal and newborn mortality rates.
It is supported by the county government, Philips and the United Nations Population Fund.
Philips Africa CEO Jasper Westerink said the new centre will help in advancing reproductive, maternal and newborn health and enable community development in a county that has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world.
Improve maternal, newborn health
In addition, Governor Ali Roba observed that the centre is an important milestone in finding new ways for significantly advancing maternal and newborn health outcomes in semi-arid counties, which contribute close to 50 per cent of all maternal deaths in Kenya.
“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,” he said.
He added that the county’s partnership with Philips and UNFPA comes at a time when it has a high incidence of maternal and newborn mortality resulting from preventable causes and lack of medical facilities.
The newly inaugurated CLC in Dandu ward is an important milestone for partners under the Private Sector Health 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.
Jobs and clean energy
It will also offer the community jobs and a clean energy supply, and, going forward, the potential to develop commercial activities and a secure social activity hub within reach of more than 40,000 people.
The project is the second of its kind in the world.
Philips inaugurated the first community life centre in Kiambu county in 2014.
The CLC will deliver crucial primary healthcare and enhance community development in Mandera. The first phase of the project is expected to be completed this year.