Lamu County, Safaricom ink Sh300m deal on maternal health
The Lamu government has entered a Sh300 million deal with Safaricom Foundation to offer special maternal, newborn and child health programme to reduce maternal and child deaths. Lamu is among 15 counties that account for more than 60 per cent of maternal, newborn and child deaths in the country. The Kenya Demographic Health Survey of 2014 said maternal mortality ratio (MMR) at the county stood at 676 for every 100,000 live births compared to the country statistic of 362 maternal deaths out of every 100,000 live births.The newborn death rate is 45 newborns out of every 1,000 live births compared to 22 nationally while infant mortality rate is 76 per 1,000 compared to the average of 39 in the country.
The under five mortality rate is at 106 children for every 1,000 compared to 76 deaths nationally.Addressing the public at the King Fahad County Hospital during the launch of the programme, Safaricom Foundation Trustee Rita Okuthe said the three-year programme will run in three counties starting with Lamu. Ms Okuthe said the foundation will invest Sh 44 million annually towards the initiative.Ms Okuthe said Safaricom Foundation will also invest in training of health workers, improving healthcare infrastructure and referral systems, community education, and community health outreaches.“The programme seeks to increase access and uptake of quality maternal and child health services in Lamu County. Our target is to reach 42,000 people in Lamu in the first year of the programme. “We will advocate for access to maternal, neonatal and child health services and health financing to ensure communities have access to healthcare when they need it,” said Ms Okuthe.