The mood is upbeat, as it often is with winners; and so it should be. It is early Friday morning and the beginning of the CICF Grantee M&E Workshop in Nairobi.
This is a special group of winners with an important goal. Theirs are the seven innovative local solutions that will be implemented in the next two years to enhance maternal and neonatal health. The seven grantees have been selected after undergoing a rigorous selection process involving 212 applicants who responded to the first CICF call.
- Health E-Net Ltd
- Malteser International
- Mount Kenya University (MKU)
- Research Care and Training Program-Family Aids Care and Education Services (RCTP-FACES)
- International Rescue Committee (IRC)
- Pathfinder International
- Program for Appropriate Technology Health (PATH)
During this induction event, the project representatives are presented with award letters, and they in turn give brief but passionate presentations on their projects, and the solutions they seek to provide. The grantees solutions are truly innovative and address a variety of crucial issues that affect mothers, women and newborns in the target counties.
In Turkana County, for instance, maternal and neonatal health is adversely affected by the shortage of qualified medical professionals, as well as by the distances that they must travel to seek assistance. In Bungoma County, 59 percent of mothers deliver at home. In several parts of the country there is a dire shortage of qualified medical personnel to deal with complex medical emergencies. Newborns often face nutritional and other wellness challenges that put their health and their very lives at risk right from the get-go.
The very lives of Kenyan mothers and babies at stake, the afternoon session finds the grantees alert. In the ‘Dragon’s Den,’ their project presentations are met with questions and comments from the dragons. In this case, everyone is a dragon, engaging their counterparts in a learning process that challenges each team to think through the potential risks and their mitigation.
The grantees projects will, among other benefits, enable clinicians in remote areas to consult with experts via digital platforms, assist mothers and newborns to access reliable transport to healthcare facilities, introduce Maternal Waiting Home facilities, offer specialized training to healthcare workers, provide information to mothers that will support their ability to make decisions on wellness of the newborns, and investigate the feasibility of developing a Human Milk Bank to improve the health of newborns.
The seven winning innovations from this first round will be implemented in Bungoma, Homa Bay, Nairobi and Turkana counties.
Round 2 of the competition closed on 15 August, 2015, with 277 applicants. Grantees from the second round will be announced in February 2016.