UNICEF and The Philips Foundation, together with Concern Worldwide, Maker and Gearbox, have launched the Maternal and Newborn Health Innovations Project, to help save lives and improve the health of pregnant women and children in Kenya.
Under the leadership of the Government of Kenya and the Project’s Steering Committee at the Ministry of Health, UNICEF and The Philips Foundation will facilitate the development of innovative health technology and solutions in the field of maternal, newborn and child health.
This investment is in keeping with the Government of Kenya’s commitment to investing in innovative, home-grown solutions for maternal and newborn healthcare.
Kenya has reduced under-five child deaths per 1000 lives from 90 in 2003 to 52 in 2014, but this still falls short of the Millennium Development Goal 4 target of 33 by the end of 2015. Neonatal mortality is also very high at 22 deaths per 1000 live births.
By 2018, UNICEF and The Philips Foundation, together with partner organisations and local innovation hubs, and with guidance from the Government of Kenya, aim to develop and scale-up innovative, low-cost and locally designed healthcare devices.
‘For 1 million babies worldwide every year, their day of birth is also their day of death,’ said Sharad Sapra, UNICEF Director of the UNICEF Global Innovation Centre. ‘But with strengthened health systems and innovative solutions for both mothers and children, the chance for survival is greatly increased.’
The Maternal and Newborn Health Innovations Project is financed by The Philips Foundation and uses the local expertise of Philips Research Africa in Nairobi to mentor social entrepreneurs and facilitate the transfer of healthcare technology know-how in Kenya.
‘At The Philips Foundation, it is our belief that programmes that combine innovation, partnerships and empowering people will make a lasting and meaningful difference in communities,’ said Katy Hartley, Head of The Philips Foundation. ‘In the case of the Maternal and Newborn Health Innovations Project, we are doing just that, as Royal Philips can offer expertise and support from its Philips Research Africa, together with UNICEF and our implementation partners, to enable social entrepreneurs to improve health outcomes for their own communities.’