Reproductive and Maternal Health Care Centre Comes to Northern Kenya

By Abdi Ali
Published July 25, 2017

Residents of Mandera County gather for the inauguration of the Philips Community Life Centre on July 14, 2017.A community centre with health services for mother and child care and that is expected to provide clean energy, employment to forty-thousand people has been opened in Mandera County in arid north-eastern Kenya.

Known as Philips Community Life Centre (CLC) and situated at Dandu Ward of Mandera County on the border of Kenya with Ethiopia and Somalia, the facility that opened on July 14, 2017 is expected to address some of the challenges–lack of qualified healthcare workers, non-operability of available medical equipment, lack of electricity, inadequate water and basic healthcare technology, lack of reliable data–facing the community in an area that is often described as being ‘marginalised’.

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The CLC that is described as “a scalable, self-sufficient concept for primary healthcare delivery that Philips is pioneering in Africa, and which it aims to introduce across the continent” has been developed through the effort of Royal Philips that specialises in health technology in collaboration with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Government of Mandera County with the aim of helping improve access to quality primary healthcare and to decrease maternal and infant mortality rates in an area that is inaccessible, insecure and whose maternal mortality ratios of 3795 per 100000 live births is higher than that of wartime Sierra Leone (2000 deaths per 100000 live births) and surpases Kenya’s national average of 448 deaths per 100000 live births).

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The Philips CLC is a community hub where technology is bundled with health services,“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,” says Jasper Westerink, Chief Executive Officer of Philips Africa. “Philips has 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, we have introduced a new value delivery model. Our ambition is to introduce this model throughout Africa to drastically improve access to primary care.”

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Describing the centre as being tailored to the local healthcare requirements, Philips says the facility is expected to act as a “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).

The Philips Community Life Centre is described as being tailored to the local healthcare requirementsIn 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 programme, 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.”

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Philips Community Life Centre is powered by renewable solar energyWhile Dr Ademola Olajide, UNFPA Country Representative to Kenya, says the CLC will “contribute to improvement in the lives and well-being in the community,” Ali Roba, the Governor of Mandera County, says, “Our partnership with Philips and UNFPA comes at a time when the County has a high incidence of maternal and newborn mortality resulting from preventable causes and lack of medical facilities. 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.”

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Philips, that says it is developing multiple CLCs across sub-Saharan Africa, has already CLCs in Kiambu County in central Kenya and Tadu village in Congo-Kinshasa that opened in 2014 and 2016, respectively.