Providing high-quality, low-cost maternal healthcare in Kenya
Kenya-based Jacaranda Health has joined the Business Call to Action (BCtA) with a pledge to provide 50,250 low-income women and children with high-quality maternal and child health care at its maternity hospitals by the end of 2019. The company has also committed to open two more maternity hospitals in 2018 and pilot innovative healthcare delivery models in 25 public health facilities to reach 250,000 additional women and children.
Every day, approximately 800 women around the world die from preventable complications of pregnancy and childbirth 99 percent of these deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa. While in developed countries, a woman's risk from dying in childbirth is 1 in 3,700; in sub-Saharan Africa, it is 1 in 39. The majority of these deaths are from problems like high-blood pressure during pregnancy and complications from delivery, which can be prevented with high-quality care.
Surveyed women in Kenya have indicated that they do not seek care as often as they should because of bad experiences and disrespect. While Kenya's Government has mandated free maternity care, public clinics are overcrowded and unhygienic. Wait times are long, care is rushed and emergencies often go unnoticed.
Jacaranda Health is bringing approaches and tools used by innovative health networks in developed countries into low-income communities. Its inclusive model leverages Kenyas high rate of mobile phone use: three out of four Kenyans have mobile phones, which are used for a variety of purposes, including money transfer.
At its maternity hospitals, the company uses a mobile phone system to input client data and track health trends. When clients go home, they receive customized health tips and scheduling reminders via SMS. The company also distributes patient satisfaction surveys through mobile phones and communicates with clients through a 24-hour hotline.
In addition, Jacaranda has innovated pre-payment saving options to assist the clients through the birth-planning process to save for a delivery, which usually costs around US$90 or one tenth the cost at a typical private maternity hospital. Through its mobile health network and maternity hospitals, over 20,000 women and children have received care, and over 2,000 healthy babies have been delivered to date.
In the next two years, the company aims to scale up from 2 to 4 facilities, which will be used as hubs for innovating a broader range of inclusive maternity services and technologies. In order to reach scale, the company is seeking to demonstrate a lightweight and scalable model for quality improvement in Kenya's public facilities. By forging new partnerships and continuously innovating, the company aims to transform maternal care in Kenya's public facilities while building a sustainable community of quality practice.