17 Apr DO NOT JUST WRITE REPORTS, ACT.
Indeed, the article by Angela Nguku in the Nation Newspaper for 16th April 2019 pointed out correctly that we have so many well written and well researched reports carried out on the welfare of women and children in rural Africa. However, very little is being done to effect or rather,find solutions to the already proven information which makes one question the objectives of carrying out the tedious and costly researches to come out with these reports. Aren’t these reports actually meant to prompt various sectors that aim to improve the lives of communities to actually work strategically? We see the reports but decades later, nothing much is being done.
The situation in existing healthcare facilities in hard-to-reach off-grid areas in Africa is heartbreaking. There are few health workers, broken down health systems, no lights or power supply (even when medical equipment exist). No running water, no blood banks and even simple necessities such as gloves missing. Deliveries are carried out in darkness only with the help of a flash lights or candles. This exposes women and children to medical conditions after birth therefore making it a possible, yet ignored condition for high infant mortality rates and maternal deaths.
It is beyond doubt that there is need to improve healthcare in rural areas in Africa but this does not mean dumping equipment in an off-grid healthcare facilities, calling the press to cover the ceremony without necessarily considering what exactly will power up these equipment. A story is told about a healthcare facility in an off-grid area in Kenya which has all required high-end equipment with no electricity to power them up. The first step towards improving healthcare is ensuring that reliable, renewable power supply exists in the various off-grid facilities as a foundation for introducing technological advancements to improve healthcare.
DREAM, Kenya signed an EPC contract with Philips East Africa with efforts of improving healthcare in rural Kenya. Philips provided healthcare equipment and DREAM provided solar energy to power up the equipment in addition to automated security lights and lighting up the dispensary. To cater for communities that are far away from the healthcare facilities, Philips invented an Outreach Kit for health workers and used DREAM’s invention, The Little DREAM Box, a portable solar power system(battery pack, panel with accessories for lighting and charging) to power up the equipment in the outreach kit which are; fetal doppler, blood pressure monitor, mini ultra sound, baby chum and a life light. This pair was first supplied in Ethiopia.