American multinational conglomerate corporation General Electric (GE) has partnered with community
based organization Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO) in an effort to reduce maternal mortality in
the continent’s largest slum Kibra, which hosts approximately 700,000 people.
GE has donated two ultra-sound equipment and six pregnancy monitors worth Ksh 2.5 million to
residents who will now access them at no cost at SHOFCO clinics in Subra and Makina areas of Kibra, in a
move aimed at improving the quality and access to healthcare services in the slum where majority
cannot access and afford pre-natal screening and monitoring as well as emergency services.
“I have been brought up in Kibera and I know the pain and struggle people go through when they queue
for long hours, sometimes with so many referrals and without services in most hospitals,” opined
Kennedy Odede, the SHOFCO CEO and CO-Founder.
“These machines will assist clinicians better estimate gestational age, improve detection of fetal
anomalies during pregnancy while giving women a better pregnancy experience,” he added.
According to reports, maternal and child mortality rates in Kibra slum is currently 50% higher than the
national average, and improved maternal healthcare will help reduce the numbing figures and the
vulnerability to HIV/AIDs and malnutrition amongst children in the expansive slum.
“GE is proud to support better outcomes for mothers and babies across Africa. We are firmly
committed to serving as a partner in the development of healthcare in Kenya and are humbled
to contribute in expanding SHOFCO’s capabilities and reach in the community where it is
needed most,” said Andrew Waititu, General Manager, GE Healthcare East Africa while
launching the partnership.
“We have provided training for the support and technological staff and will also be offering advisory
support to help SHOFCO to mobilize mothers to seek pre, and post-natal screening,” Waititu added.
Most health facilities available in the city slum lack appropriate equipment to deal with pre-natal and
maternal health emergencies, in addition to shortage of skilled personnel needed to provide emergency
obstetric care and the kit are aimed at reducing unnecessary referrals, hence decongesting the main
health facility in Kibra.
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. the Kenyan government has
made significant progress towards reducing the burden of maternal and infant mortality rates led by a
commitment to improving access and quality of maternal, newborn, and child health care services
towards attaining Kenya’s Vision 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goal 3 agenda.
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 more than one million deliveries in 2016, with
2,000 maternal deaths and 30,000 child deaths avoided annually since 2013.
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.
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