“F.A.R.E.!” – Facilities’ Advancement and Referral Enhancement

Safer mothers in Ethiopia and in Kenya

FAREA project carried out by World Friends Onlus, Oxfam Italy, The Meyer Pediatric Hospital and Engera, and co-financed by the Centre for Global Health, Tuscan Region, which will provide assistance to 860 thousand people in different communities.

A bridge of solidarity stretching from Florence to Africa, to support the many, far too many, mothers who today still risk death in childbirth. In Ethiopia and Kenya, two of the poorest countries in the world according to UN classifications, around 430 mothers per 100,000 live births die each year due to complications connected with childbirth: deaths in childbirth amount to 13,000 and 6,300 occurring respectively each year in the two countries. Alarming data, above all when compared with mortality rates in affluent countries. Here, as in the rest of Africa, the risk of death in childbirth is more than 100 times higher compared with Europe and North America. A situation caused for the greater part by a lack of skilled assistance. In the shanty towns in the north-east of Nairobi in Kenya, only 30% of women receive adequate assistance, while in Ethiopia the national average even falls to 6%.

The aim of the project is to provide qualified medical assistance for health emergencies relating to childbirth for 860 thousand people in two of the poorest areas of two African countries: the shanty towns in the North-eastern area of Nairobi in Kenya, and the Guraghe region in Ethiopia, where a lack of adequate medical equipment, scant preparation of the medical personnel and a general ineffectiveness of the emergency interventions place women’s health at strong risk. A project of aid for development, therefore, emanating from a clear will to contribute to achieving one of the most important Millennium Goals defined by the United Nations: improvement in maternal health.

The project

Primary objectives are 15 health structures of various levels together with the required health workers, and above all for women of reproductive age and their children, resident in the areas of the initiative. The benefits of these interventions extend also to the families and to their communities (around 800,000 individuals in Kenya and 60,000 in Ethiopia) as well as other public and private health structures present on the territory, through activities aimed at improving the framework (work, equipment, services, etc.) of the health centres. In addition to training (clinical, managerial and administrative) for personnel, the project also includes analyses and updating of clinical protocols and of the Standard Operative Procedures, improvement in the existent methods of intervention and their value, support and strengthening of intervention mechanisms for obstetrical and gynecological emergencies.

The project is supported on the technical and scientific sides by the Regional Centre for Global Health, structurally attached to the Meyer University Hospital, Florence, which is already active with similar initiatives in Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Colombia, Palestine, Senegal, Tanzania, Tunisia and Uganda.