A Kenyan is among two innovators
awarded $250,000 (approximately Sh25,000,000) to develop pre-natal
Two projects, one using cell phones to
deliver to expectant mothers in Kenya electronic vouchers for
pre-natal care and transportation, the other aimed at promoting
maternal and child health in northern Nigeria, will receive $250,000
grants from the Saving Lives at Birth Partnership.
Both projects were motivated by the
childbirth-related deaths of important women in the lives of the
African-based project innovators.
Although Kenyan Sam Agutu and Nigerian
Aminu Gamawa come from different countries and backgrounds, they
share a common passionate commitment - to save the lives of women
giving birth and guarantee infants a healthy start.
Agutu's sister died in childbirth on
the way to the hospital. Gamawa's mother died in childbirth too. Both
men say the deaths were avoidable if better care had been available.
They've channeled that devastating loss into powerful motivation to
improve the odds for women and their babies.
Sam Agutu's Kenyan group, Changamka
Microhealth based in Nairobi, is proposing e-vouchers delivered
through cell phones to encourage women to seek care during their
pregnancy and at birth.
In remote areas health care costs and
distance to clinics are barriers for women. The e-vouchers can be
used to pay for pre-natal care and transportation.
that not receiving adequate care is a leading cause of maternal
mortality in the developing world. Mothers who attend their required
ante-natal visits and who deliver in hospital stand an infinitely
greater chance of surviving than those who do not" said Mr.
Agutu. "We will use Saving Lives at Birth's support to validate
the effectiveness of e-vouchers, an SMS informational campaign and a
transport subsidy in encouraging pregnant women to seek health care".
The Development Research and Projects
Centre in Nigeria is relying on persuasion and experience to change
attitudes of some Islamic opinion leaders in the country's Muslim
Each program will receive a $250,000
seed grant from the Saving Lives at Birth partnership, which includes
Grand Challenges Canada, USAID, the Government of Norway, the Bill &
Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Bank.
(Source: Business daily Africa)