Kenya falls under the categories of many countries where basic health care is not covered by the government or the local authority. There are about a handful of countries that provide free primary health care; Ethiopia being one of them.
Antenatal care falls under primary health care, and in Kenya, just like in most other African countries, the citizen must foot the bill. However, the sad reality is that not that many families (or expectant mothers) can foot the bill. Leading to cases where many expectant mother either receiving antenatal care at a very late stage in their pregnancy (if they develop a critical condition) or never receiving any at all.
For such reasons, cases of still birth or complications during births are higher than ought to be, and Philips Africa in collaboration with local governments wants to mitigate that. Philips has developed a backpack for midwives within which, ultramodern antennal care medical gadgets can be carried.
Philips in conjunction with local governments is running a charity program, where experienced and qualified midwives volunteer to visit expectant mothers in their homes. The midwives bring with them the Philips backpack, which carries the necessary medical gadgets and medicines to enable them give expectant mothers antenatal care in their homes.
Weight at about 5kg (11lb), the relatively heavy backpack has all the antenatal things the midwife will need for the visit. The backpack carrying midwives have proven invaluable in reaching deep within the slums, where there are no roads for ambulance to get through.
Philips Africa wants to replicate the backpack carrying midwives to other far-flung areas in Kenya and across the continent where people live far from the nearest health care facilities. Jasper Westerlink, the CEO of Philips Africa said:
“In large parts of Africa,… volunteers who often lack formal training or even basic equipment to help them [widwives] with their tasks. Our ambition is to introduce this model throughout Africa to drastically improve access to primary care.”