As part of Safaricom’s 20th anniversary celebrations, M-PESA Foundation will support women in 26 health facilities across the country with Mother and Baby packs. Each of the packs will have items that the new mothers and babies need, like sanitary towels, shawls, diapers, pyjamas, soaps and a basin. There will also be a pictorial guide on breastfeeding and best infant care practices.
This initiative will support at least 6,000 mothers at the cost of Ksh25.2 Million.
“We believe that every mother and newborn child deserve an equal chance of survival during the childbirth process. From our experience, we have seen that the Mother and Baby packs work in incentivizing women to give birth in health facilities. This simple gesture is crucial in reducing preventable maternal deaths. We believe that through this initiative, we will increase demand for hospital- based deliveries and greatly improve the quality of life for disadvantaged mothers and their babies,” Peter Ndegwa, CEO, Safaricom.
According to government statistics, Kenya loses at least 362 women for every 100,000 live births. The introduction of free maternity service has seen delivery under skilled care increase from 44 % to 62% according to government estimates. However, these gains are likely to be rolled back with the current COVID-19 crisis.
“Documented evidence shows that since May, only a paltry three out of 10 women give birth in hospitals, pointing to a worrying trend that could morph into a crisis,” Peter Ndegwa, CEO, Safaricom.
The M-PESA Foundation has invested in two large -scale maternal health projects over the last 10 years. Uzazi Salama and LEAP aim to reduce maternal and newborn deaths in North Eastern, Nyanza and Western regions.
Uzazi Salama is a partnership with AMREF Health Africa, PharmAccess group and the Samburu County government who are the implementing partners. It involves improving infrastructure, capacity building of health workers, enhancing community-based information and education, and health care financing. Through the partnership over 50 health facilities in Samburu have been renovated serving more than 250,000 people in the county
LEAP formerly known as the Health Enablement and Learning Platform aims to train, up-skill and develop the capacity of Community Health Volunteers and their supervisors, a critical resource in delivering community health services across Kenya. Over 3,000 community health workers have been registered reaching over 360,000 people annually.