Saving Newborn Lives in Kenya
Country of Operation
- Global Health Partnerships (GHP)Not-for-profit
- Kenya Ministry of Public Health and SanitationGovernment
SummaryThis project trains village community health workers (CHWs) in Kenya to recognize signs of illness in newborn infants during their first week of life, so that life-saving treatment can be given.
In Kenya and other African countries, many newborn infants die from preventable causes, usually infections. Most children are born at home with no medical assistance. In this setting of extreme poverty and lack of health care access, the newborn infants receive little or no care after birth, even when illness strikes. An infection or other illness can rapidly become serious, even fatal, unless treatment is started quickly. Mothers need local help if these deaths are to be prevented. Training local CHWs increases the local capacity for care of newborns, providing a long-lasting solution to the lack of access to medical care in impoverished African settings. Newborn lives can be saved with this proven and inexpensive approach.
Key program components
Community health workers (CHWs) live in the villages and know their neighbors, speak their language, and share their culture. GHP has provided training for a group of CHWs so that they are able to identify illness early, and educate the mothers about prevention of illness. The CHWs serve about 100 villages in Yatta District. They visit the home of each newborn 3 times during the first week of life, and assist those with signs of illness to get to a clinic or hospital for treatment. The cost of the 3 newborn visits is $7.50 (USD) per child. This project has the potential to reach about 1,000 newborn infants in the target region of rural Kenya each year. Given the mortality rate for young infants in Kenya, 31 of these 1,000 infants will be expected to die without this type of program. Saving Newborn Lives in Kenya serves approximately 700 clients each year.