Royal Philips has opened its first Community Life Center in Kenya, an integrated solution for primary health care and service facilities that provides community development from a health care, lighting and healthy living perspective.
Developed by the Philips Africa Innovation Hub and introduced in collaboration with the County Government of Kiambu in Kenya, the Community Life Center (located at the Githurai Lang’ata Health Center in Kiambu County) is a proof of concept that provides access to health care and at the same time enables social, educational and commercial activities after dusk and enhances safety and security of the neighborhood.
An important focus of the Community Life Centers is to address infant mortality and improve maternal health, linked to the current UN Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 (MDGs), a cause to which Philips remains consistently committed.
Improving access to primary health care is a key challenge across Africa. Primary health facilities in most parts of the continent are not able to offer basic quality services to local communities for a combination of reasons ranging from unavailability of qualified health care workers to lack of electricity, water and basic health care technology. As a consequence, many people do not have access to adequate health care near their homes and are compelled to bypass the primary and secondary levels of care, confronting hospitals with more patients than they can handle.
The Philips Community Life Center goes beyond health care by turning a health facility into a community hub where technology is bundled with services. The technology package includes solar power (for a reliable and clean energy supply), efficient and durable indoor and outdoor LED-lighting (enabling extended opening hours and providing security to patients and staff), health care equipment (to enable patient monitoring, diagnosis and triage), laboratory equipment (especially for antenatal care tests), refrigeration (preventing spoiling of vaccines), IT-solutions (storage of patient data) and water supply and purification (preventing waterborne diseases).
Philips involves community members in the assessment and design of the Community Life Center in order to create ownership. The solution is tailored to the needs of the facility and the community. Philips trains the staff and mobilizes the community to make use of the improved services of the facility. The Community Life Center serves as a community hub where, in addition to health services, the local community members can buy clean water and sustainable products like Philips’ smokeless cookstoves and home solar lighting products, and benefit from the Philips solar-powered LED outdoor lighting that illuminates the area at night.
“Philips is a leading technology company in health and well-being and our vision is to improve people’s lives through meaningful innovation”, said JJ van Dongen, CEO Philips Africa. “Today the population growth is highest in emerging markets like Africa and innovation can help drive sustainable solutions that bridge the divide between the privileged and lesser privileged sections of society and improve the quality of life at all levels. With the first Community Life Center, we have introduced a new value delivery model and our ambition is to introduce this solution across Africa to drastically improve access to primary health care.”
Philips implemented the first phase of the Community Life Center solution in June 2014. A new maternity building was inaugurated containing a Philips ClearVue 650 Ultrasound (http://www.philips.com/clearvue650) and monitoring equipment, enabling women to deliver their babies safely. Today the facility delivers an average of two babies per day and this number is expected to grow exponentially in the coming months. Health care workers at the site were empowered through clinical coaching and education.
“Our partnership with Philips comes at a time when the County has a high incidence of infant and maternal mortality resulting from preventable causes and lack of medical facilities”, states H.E William Kabogo, Governor of Kiambu County. “With Philips contributing towards solar energy solutions and state-of-the-art equipment, the County Government was able to focus on the construction of the infrastructure and hiring new staff. This co-operation is reflective of the kind of partnerships we seek to participate in with the private sector that results in uplifting the lives of our communities.”