Turkana, the second largest county in Kenya, covers 68,680 square kilometres and has a population of about one million. Turkana faces serious MNH challenges due to a shortage of specialized providers.
The county has only nine Medical Officers and one Ob/Gyn. Mothers and newborns in need of specialized services are often referred to the county referral hospital or the teaching referral hospital in neighboring Uasin Gishu County. About seven patients are referred each week from Lodwar to MTRH in Eldoret, each costing the county at least 30,000 shillings, hence an annual costs of about 10 million shillings. The unmanageable distances and costs result in preventable maternal and neonatal deaths. Turkana’s maternal mortality rate (1,594/100,000 live births), is the third-highest in Kenya.
Health-E-Net Ltd’s project will address the limitations of MNH service delivery in Turkana County by enabling the available healthcare providers to receive expert advice through a patent-pending platform that facilitates the creation, digitization, and transfer of medical data. Remote support will be provided by a distributed network of providers, including a core group of institutions, (MNH) hospitals, and paid professionals (general physicians/specialists), as well as a wider group of volunteers. Through this platform, nurses in health centers in Turkana County will access support from medical officers. Similarly, doctors in hospitals will get advice on complex cases from specialists. The platform will also improve the management of referrals and the follow-up of returning patients, improving horizontal and vertical linkages within the County healthcare system.
The result will be a reduced need for referral outside the county and an improvement in the management of referrals. The early detection and management of complications for mothers and newborns in Turkana County will lead to improved MNH.
This project will be implemented by Health-E-Net Ltd in collaboration with the Turkana County Health Management Team.