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GE, SHOFCO partners to improve antenatal care in Nairobi slums

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By Ben Oduor

Digital Industrial Company, GE, on Wednesday partnered with Shinning Hope for Communities Organization (SHOFCO) in an effort to increase access to pre-natal screenings for expectant mothers in Kibera, a Nairobi-based slum.

In the $25,000 (KES2.5M) partnership, GE Healthcare provided hand-held ultrasound equipments, training and advisory support to help the charity organization realize its mission of mobilizing mothers for pre-natal screenings.

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The partnership has so far seen the organization’s nurses and clinical officers receive 40-hours training from GE as well as the hand-held ultrasound device, designed to help primary health workers conduct examinations that may result in the earlier detection of potentially life-threatening pregnancy complications.

This partnership is seen as a game-changer to the area residents, who for long have been unable to access quality healthcare infrastructure thus increasing their vulnerability to threats such as HIV/AIDS and malnutrition among children.

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Speaking during the hand-over ceremony at SHOFCO headquarters in Kibera, the Organization’s CEO and co-founder, Kennedy Odede, lauded the initiative, saying it would help mitigate maternal deaths common in the slum.

“Most of the health facilities available in the slums lack appropriate equipment   to deal with prenatal and maternal health emergencies, in addition to a shortage of skilled personnel needed to provide emergency obstetric care. This solution, to be deployed at SHOFCO’s Subra and Makina satellite clinics, will reduce unnecessary referrals and decongest the main health facility in Kibera,” the CEO said, adding:

“Through this program, expectant mothers will have access to ultrasound scanning before 24 weeks of gestation, which according to guidelines, assist clinicians in better estimating gestation age, improve detection of fetal anomalies and overall, help us improve a woman’s pregnancy experience.”

“We are grateful to GE for their support through capacity building, empowering our clinical officers and nurses to deliver proper care to the most vulnerable.”

Andrew Waititu, GE CEO for East Africa, on his part, lauded the services offered by SHOFCO and promised future partnerships with the organization, saying such initiatives can help eradicate various social challenges affecting such areas.

“We could do more if we come together to positively impact such areas. This could eventually transform our cities into the “New Yorks of Africa,” he chuckled.

 

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