Addressing Healthcare Disparities in Kenya Through Innovative Solutions

by Amref Health Africa

In Kenya, the synergy between innovation and technology has ushered in a new era of healthcare, completely transforming the way medical services and information reach patients. With more than 60% of the population owning mobile phones, the fusion of mobile technology and healthcare has brought about significant improvements, particularly in remote and underserved areas. Leading this healthcare revolution is the Tekeleza Project, supported by Amref Netherlands through Amref International University (AMIU), with its overarching mission of enabling mothers and babies to thrive.

Tekeleza, which translates to “to implement” in English, transcends being a mere project; it serves as a beacon of hope for countless families throughout Kenya. Its primary goal revolves around bringing essential healthcare services closer to households, thereby enhancing the health of mothers and infants and, consequently, the overall healthcare quality within communities. Through innovative educational initiatives, robust public-private partnerships, and the integration of cutting-edge digital solutions, Tekeleza is reshaping the landscape of primary healthcare in Kenya.

One of the most remarkable aspects of Tekeleza is its emphasis on education and awareness. Mothers are empowered with knowledge about their pregnancy journeys through the Lucy App, an innovative digital tool developed by Health-e-Foundation, a key partner of Tekeleza. The Lucy App equips mothers with a comprehensive understanding of their pregnancy’s progression, essential pregnancy-related services, labour and delivery procedures, postnatal care, and optimal timing. It also educates mothers about warning signs in pregnancy to be vigilant for and assists in personalized birth planning.

Furthermore, the Tekeleza Project empowers Community Health Promoters to refer clients for ultrasound services and Linda Mama enrolments using M-Jali, a revolutionary solution developed by Amref Health Innovations that streamlines the collection, analysis, and dissemination of community health data. M-Jali includes a mobile application for data capture at the household level, transmitting it to a web-based database at healthcare centres. Community Health Promoters (CHPs) in even the country’s most remote areas collect this data, providing governments and healthcare facilities with timely, accurate, and comprehensive health information. Such data is crucial for governments to allocate resources effectively for healthcare interventions.

Through the Linda Mama referrals via Mjali, more pregnant women are being enrolled in the free health insurance program, Linda Mama, ensuring that financial constraints do not hinder their access to essential care. Linda Mama provides a package of basic health services based on need rather than ability to pay, positioning Kenya towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC). It is a publicly-funded health scheme that guarantees access to quality and affordable maternal and newborn healthcare services for pregnant women and infants.

These digital platforms provide critical information to mothers and enable them to participate in their healthcare decisions actively.

The Tekeleza Project has made healthcare more accessible and affordable by introducing Point of Care ultrasound screenings at a subsidized price thanks to portable ultrasound equipment (Lumify). The funds collected from ultrasound screenings are reinvested in the facility to improve maternal, neonatal, and child health (MNCH) services. The Health facilities have used the funds to purchase essential equipment such as blood pressure machines, bulb suckers, penguin suckers, and consumables for the maternity unit.

Community Health Promoters (CHPs) are also supported to identify and engage in income-generating activities (IGA) through seed funding after undergoing entrepreneurship training. This motivates them to perform their crucial roles effectively and strengthens the healthcare workforce in remote and underserved areas.

Tekeleza Project operates in three counties in Kenya: Kajiado, Migori, and Kisii. The project has become a lifeline for mothers and their families in these regions, completely transforming the healthcare experience by bridging gaps in access and knowledge that once hindered a healthy life.

Through its innovation and unwavering commitment to improving grassroots healthcare, Tekeleza stands as a shining example of what is possible when technology and compassion intersect. In a country where healthcare disparities persist, this project offers hope, progress, and the promise of a healthier future for all. It serves as a testament to the power of innovation and collaboration in advancing healthcare and equitably enhancing the lives of communities in resource-constrained settings.

Author: Linda Kariuki, Communications Associate, Tekeleza Project

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