Philips plans Mandera healthcare centre to reduce cost burden


Philips East Africa Limited general manager Roelof Assies. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU

Technology firm, Philips, has announced plans to set up a Community Life Centre (CLC) in Mandera as part of its investment in the low-income regions of Africa.

Under the CLC concept, Philips hopes to create a community hub where technology such as solar power, LED-lighting and low-cost health equipment can be used to deliver affordable healthcare.

Philips East Africa general manager Roelof Assies said the project being rolled out in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) will alleviate healthcare burden in the county  with one of the world’s highest maternal mortality ratio - 3,795 per 100,000 live births.

The Mandera project announced on the sidelines of World Economic Forum (WEF)- Africa which entered its second day in Kigali on Thursday - comes hardly two years after  Philips inaugurated a similar centre in Githurai (Kiambu County) in 2014.

“The CLC will deliver crucial primary healthcare and enhance community development in Mandera after the first phase is completed this year,” said Mr Assies.

Numerous challenges

Developed by the Philips Africa Innovation Hub, the concept of the CLC seeks to make primary healthcare investment in remote communities.
The centres provide equipment to enable patient monitoring, diagnosis and triage.

They also have laboratory equipment especially for antenatal care tests, refrigeration for preserving  vaccines, patient data storage unit as well as water supply and purification systems.

Philips is one of the co-sponsors of the WEF-Africa, a platform that brings together public policy experts, leaders, investors and philanthropists to discuss the continent’s pressing problems.

Delivery of primary healthcare in Africa faces numerous challenges, among them, unavailability of qualified healthcare workers and lack of electricity, water and basic healthcare technology.

Philips hopes to scale up the CLC concept to all the six northern Kenya counties before moving to other parts of the continent.

“The creation of the CLC concept enabled Philips to realise its vision to drastically improve primary healthcare in Africa by addressing all causes in one solution,” the firm said in a statement. Siddharth Chatterjee, the UNFPA representative to Kenya said, “Our collaboration with Philips on the CLC  will be more meaningful when we have demonstrated significant improvements in the health outcomes of the 15 counties in Kenya that suffer from the highest burden of maternal and newborn mortality.”

He added “ We aim to improve these outcomes by transforming their primary healthcare systems. Key elements for the success of our CLC collaboration are innovation, adaptability, scale and sustainability.”

The UNFPA has spearheaded the Every Woman Every Child (EWEC) Private Sector Collective Action initiative in Kenya of which Philips is a founding member.

That campaign seeks to improve maternal new-born health outcomes in six northern Kenya counties which currently account for 50 per cent of all maternal deaths in the country.