By George Morara
Pregnant mothers are set to benefit from a new technology designed by GE Healthcare for ultrasound screening. This means that lifethreatening pregnancy complications can easily be corrected. 7, 000 women will receive their first ultrasound screening during their current pregnancy in the next 9 months.
At hand to provide this service are twelve nurses and clinical officers who have received over 70 hours of training on the use of GE Healthcare’s portable handheld ultrasound device. GE Healthcare said in a statement, the device is designed to help primary healthcare workers estimate gestational age, better plan and manage pregnancies, and conduct examinations that may result in the early detection of potentially lifethreatening pregnancy complications.
The collaboration is in line with Kisumu County’s healthcare mission to achieve Universal Healthcare Access through responsive and sustainable technologically-driven evidence-based and client centred health system. Su b s e q u e n t l y, t h e c o u n t y government announced a new maternal and newborn health initiative aimed at mobilising expectant women to seek antenatal screenings to improve maternal and new-born outcomes in the county.
In addition to the equipment and training, GE Healthcare will provide monitoring and evaluation advisory support to the county. Kisumu County Executive Committee member in charge of Health and Sanitation Dr. Rosemary Obara said the innovative program is a key part of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) rollout in Kisumu County and the rest of the country.
“Our UHC Strategy seeks to strengthen the health provision chain from the family level to the referral facilities. These easy to use equipment and the training will go a long way in equipping the maternal health providers at the lower level facilities with the requisite tools to support the management of maternal health especially prenatal and new-born management,” she added.
Dr Obara was speaking at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital after the training of healthcare workers from six facilities located in five of the county’s seven subcounties selected for the program. The collaboration is in line with Kisumu County’s healthcare mission to transform the livelihoods of the people in the County through responsive and sustainable technologically-driven evidence-based and client centred health system for accelerated attainment of highest standards of health. Farid Fezoua, Vice President, CEO & President GE Africa and GE Healthcare, Africa, said the company is proud to support better outcomes for maternal, newborn, and child health across Africa.
“We are firmly committed to serving as a partner in the development of healthcare in Kenya and pleased to collaborate with the Kisumu County government. We believe strengthening primary healthcare is an essential step in supporting governments in the attainment of Universal Health Coverage,” he added. Kisumu Governor Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o earlier this year pledged to scale up operations in all hospitals and health centres in the County to seamlessly integrate health systems in achieving the UHC commitment.
His administration has allocated 30 per cent of its annual budget on healthcare according to the governor, a move he believed will revamp the county’s health structure. GE has been implementing 17 similar primary healthcare (PHC) programs that link care from “community to the hospital” in seven countries in the last three years. “GE implements its PHC programs via a collaborative framework of strategic partners and stakeholders that includes governments, funding agencies, professional associations, local NGOs, academic institutions, among others,” Fezoua added.
These programs are currently running in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, and Tanzania. Fezoua said they have delivered measurable impact in terms of improved maternal and newborn outcomes, over 100,000 expectant women and newborns have directly benefitted, and trained, including task shifting another 1,100 primary healthcare workers.