World Friends, in association with the Archdiocese of Nairobi and with the support of the Italian Cooperation for Development, has initiated the MISMI project – Improvement of Mother and Child Health, to ensure greater access, efficiency and efficacy of the maternal-child services offered by the health system in the slums of North-East Nairobi, aimed at reducing the infant mortality rate and improving maternal health in Kenya.
The informal settlements, where World Friends has been operating by now for 15 years, represent the most disadvantaged areas with regard to health protection and access to health services. Only 57% of pregnant women complete the cycle of prenatal visits and less than 50% participate in an assisted and safe manner. More than half of the women who have to deal with complications, both during pregnancy as well as at delivery, do not receive medical assistance. Regarding infant health, pneumonia, diarrhea and malnutrition, although easily diagnosed and treatable, add up to more than 50% of deaths among children under the age of 5 years [APHRC] (African Population and Health Research Centre).
The reduced life expectancy at birth, the high mortality rate for new-borns, infants and mothers, the limited knowledge of the pathologies and problems inherent to maternal-child health, as well as the lack of an effective approach to the health system, together with the poor accessibility and efficiency of health services for the protection of maternal-child health, contribute in a significant way to Kenya’s 145° ranking in the classification drafted by the United nations on the basis of the Human Development Index (ISU-UNDP 2013).
The project envisages multilevel and multisectoral action (prevention, treatment, training) which will guarantee greater accessibility to essential and specialist maternal-child services to the most vulnerable residents of the slums, and the opportunity for training and updating on these subjects to doctors and paramedics, adopting and spreading clinical best practices in accordance with international standards.
- Establishment and support for 4 Community Unit – committees composted of an average of 25 social workers acting on a voluntary base for the good of the community – in the slums in the area covered by the RUNH catchment area.
- Medical Camps, offering essential maternal-child services in the most marginalised areas of the target settlements.
- Infrastructure rehabilitation and supply of equipment for maternal-child services in 4 dispensaries and health centres
- Contribution for the construction and supply of equipment to the Pediatrics Ward, Primary Health Care Department and Professional Training Office at the RUNH
- Start-up of the Pediatrics Ward and on-the-job training of medical and paramedic personnel
- Implementation of sessions of Continuing Medical Education (CME) within the above-mentioned maternal-child courses at the Centre for CPD (Continuing Professional Development) Centre at the RUNH and its minor structures.