M-Pesa, Getrude hospital strike Ksh.203 million deal to narrow referral numbers in counties

Safaricom Foundation has set aside KSh. 100 million for its Ndoto Zetu initiative which calls upon Kenyans to partner with the Foundation by having their community dreams and aspirations brought to life. Safaricom Chief Executive Officer, Peter Ndegwa made the announcement at Shadrack Kimalel Secondary School in Kibra where he officially opened a KSh. 5.4 million science laboratory and ablution block constructed and equipped by the Safaricom Foundation. “Ndoto Zetu is our initiative to partner with Kenyans keen to make a difference in their communities through social investments. Each dream we bring to life translates to thousands of lives impacted and transformed. This year we hope to impact and transform many more lives as we continue to support the country bounce back from the COVID-19 Pandemic, “said Ndegwa. The initiative will focus on partnering with Kenyans to implement community projects in health, education and economic empowerment “Through Ndoto Zetu, we have supported projects ranging from KSh. 40,000 such as sanitary towels distribution, to initiatives worth KSh. 1.5 million like donation of maternity equipment to hospitals”, added Ndegwa. Since its inception in 2019, Ndoto Zetu has executed over 600 projects worth KSh. 90 million, positively impacting close to 2 million Kenyans.

Safaricom’s M-PESA Foundation and Gertrude’s Hospital Foundation have launched the Daktari Smart telemedicine program, an initiative aimed at reducing the number of referrals of sick children in the country.

The Ksh.203 million programme will first set stage in the counties of Samburu, Homabay, Baringo and Lamu with other two counties expected to be brought on board in the next phase.

The deal targets 32,000 children and M-Pesa Foundation has committed Ksh.168 million while Getrude signed Ksh.35 million.

It will optimize the capacity and reach of healthcare delivery systems by allowing county health facilities to have access to specialists.

“Daktari Smart aims to address the delays in receiving adequate healthcare in rural and underserved areas through telemedicine. Patients who would otherwise have to spend a significant amount of time and money to travel long distances to urban areas to seek care, will now be able to receive specialist care from their local health facility,” said Michael Joseph, Chairman, M-PESA Foundation.

Daktari Smart is a kit that compromises electronic medical devices such as the Electronic Stethoscope, Vital Signs Monitor, Derma scope Camera, Ultrasound Machine, Otoscope (examine the condition of the ear canal and eardrum) and the electrocardiogram (ECG) used to check the heart’s rhythm and electrical activity.

Unlike the conventional video conferencing, Daktari Smart allows the health care worker at the local partner health facilities to place the electronic medical devices such as a stethoscope or vital signs monitor on the patient.

The specialist at Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital will then be able to see the patient and hear the sounds real time without the interpretation from the health worker at the local facility.

Screens will also be used for video conferencing to facilitate regular capacity building for over 300 health workers serving in the rural health facilities; and training of 360 social workers and community health volunteers (CHVs) in the local community who will support in social mobilization.

It is user friendly even in rural areas with bandwidth required ranging from 512Kbps to 2Mbps.

According to the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board, the doctor to patient ratio currently stands at about one doctor for every 6,355 people which leads to difficulties in getting access to a qualified medical professional. This ratio increases when it comes to specialists.

The participating counties in this program have only one or no paediatrician to treat children in these areas.

“Our mission as Gertrude’s Hospital Foundation is to transform communities by improving access to quality healthcare services to needy and disadvantaged children in the country. This involves embracing innovation and technology, as well as research. The Daktari Smart program will enable us to provide the much-needed specialist care to children in far flung areas, as well as develop appropriate data and information to support paediatric healthcare in the country,” said Les Baillie, the Chairman of Gertrude’s Hospital Foundation.

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Lawrence Baraza is a prolific writer with competencies in Digital Media, Print, and Broadcast. Baraza is also a Communication Practitioner currently spearheading Digital content on Metropol TV's Digital Desk.

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