Though life expectancy in Kenya has improved over the years, communicable, non-communicable diseases, high rates of maternal mortality and injuries still remain an issue. According to World Health Global Observatory, Non-communicable diseases are responsible for 30% of deaths in Kenya. Diabetes, Cancer and Hypertension account for most of the deaths recorded. Additionally, maternal health conditions account for 9% of the reported deaths. Leading issues in maternal healthcare include; hypertension, haemorrhage and obstructed labour.
Earlier this year, Safaricom Foundation released their 3-year strategy which will run from April 2018- March 2019. The strategy is meant to focus on key areas that contribute to Kenya’s sustainable development. This includes Good Health, Quality Education, Decent Work and Economic Empowerment. The mission is to make impactful partnerships that align with these Sustainable Development Goals. In regards to health (SDG 3), Safaricom Foundation continuous to work with various organizations to ensure that people have access to quality and affordable healthcare services. Their aim is to focus on the key issues in the highlighted key issues which include maternity healthcare and improving the treatment of non-communicable diseases. As part of this strategy, SafaricomFoundation also had community clinics during Twaweza Live and these were attended by hundreds of people in the areas where Twaweza Live was taking place.
Safaricom Foundation has partnered with Carepay and PharmAccess to bring to life the M-TIBA platform. The application provides users with the platform to send, spend and save funds specifically meant for medical treatment. The funds stored there give the user access to licensed healthcare facilities in their area of residence. One can also save on behalf of friends and family members allowing them quick access to medical care in the event of sickness. Employers can also save on behalf of their employees. All M-TIBA users receive a free Personal Accident cover of up to Kshs 8,000. So far, the application has over 1.5 million users with 283, 655 recorded visits. New Health Payment Platform M-Tiba Rolls Out Nationwide
The application is suited to benefit a majority of Kenyans who cannot afford medical services. Public medical services are overstretched and private medical services are too expensive. In the first nine months, MTIBA had acquired 10,000 beneficiaries at 44 clinics living in the informal settlements in Nairobi. The partnership extends further to Minet Kenya to provide the Healthcare Insurance Fund and the M-Health Initiative to provide a link between private and public healthcare facilities. In doing so, more people have access to quality health services all around the country since you can pull resources which are also insurable.
Additionally, MPESA Foundation has partnered with PharmAccess on another project called Uzazi Salama. The project aims to improve maternal and newborn health indicators for the people of Samburu. Together with the County Government of Samburu, they focus on four key areas which are; quality education, medical on-demand financing, quality improvement and health workers training. Using these focus points, the mission is to educate community members on safe maternal practices to protect them and their unborn baby.
The project also supports training of medical personnel in a bid to increase the quality of services provided in the medical institutions. So far 58 facilities have been assessed, and quality plans developed to ensure they provide quality maternal services to the patients. Additionally, more expectant mothers can access medical services. Mothers receiving iron supplements has doubled from 3,296 patients in the year 2015 to 7,492 in the year 2017.
Apart from improving maternal services, they work to set up financing options for mothers who may not have access or cannot afford medical care. Vouchers are provided for expectant mothers to access ambulances when they go into delivery. This reduces homebirths which are often not in the best conditions. Maternal referrals for complicated births has also risen which in turn has increased deliveries from 4 in 2015 to 429 in 2017 per sub-county.
The Christian Blind Mission (CBM Kenya) work to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities. They work with different organizations to ensure that all persons with disabilities have access to medical services, quality education and livelihood opportunities. Safaricom Foundation partnered up with them to provide funding for medical procedures for persons living with disabilities. 7000 children have benefited from the fully funded surgeries offered by CBM Kenya.
Safaricom Foundation has also partnered with Freedom from Fistula Foundation of Kenya to offer free surgeries to women suffering from obstetric fistula. They also seek to create awareness about the condition and mobilize women suffering from the condition to come forward and get it rectified. Earlier this year, 30 out of the 300 women admitted in Embu Level 5 Hospital underwent surgeries due to the initiative. Part of the funding also goes towards training medical personnel on fistula management in order to enhance their capacity to handle the condition in various hospitals.