, KIAMBU, Kenya, Dec 9 – Bharti Airtel has joined the campaign against infant mortality in Kenya by donating 25 space heaters to Kiambu County hospitals.
The donation is an initiative aimed at reducing the mortality rate of new born babies in Kenya.
The room heaters will be placed in newborn units (NBU), labour wards, maternity and delivery rooms to keep newborns warm immediately after birth.
While handing over the heaters, Airtel Kenya CEO Adil El Youssefi said: “We at Airtel strive to make a difference in the lives of the people of Kenya. We believe that these space heaters will make a great contribution towards reduction of preventable infant mortality within the county of Kiambu.”
Complementing El Youssefi’s remarks, Cheka Mtoi Aishi CEO Dr David Wasambla said: “Our vision is in line with both the beyond zero campaign by Kenya’s First Lady and the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goal 4 which seeks to reduce childhood mortality. With the central government’s initiative of free maternity services, more mothers are giving birth in hospitals and these space heaters will ensure we do not lose more newborns to hypothermia, pneumonia and other cold related causes.”
While accepting the donation, Kiambu County Executive Committee Member for Health Services Dr Jonah Mwangi said: “We are thankful to Airtel for the donation that will see a reduction in death among infants born within the county. Areas like Limuru, Tigoni and Kikuyu are worst affected by cold weather and will be a priority in when we distribute these space heaters.”
Dr Mwangi further added that “they will continue partnering with the private sector to improve the health standards of the community.”
According to District Health Information Software (DHIS), 20 newborns die every day in Kenya many of them due to preventable causes.
One of the major yet preventable causes of death in newborns is hypothermia and pneumonia which kill within the first week of life.
These deaths can be easily prevented by providing space/ room heaters in newborn units (NBU), labour wards, maternities and delivery rooms to keep newborns warm immediately after birth.
The temperature in the womb is 36.6˚C while room temperature even in the hottest part of Kenya is about 30˚C. This means babies lose between 6.6˚C to 24.6˚C (in places like Limuru where temperatures can go as low as 12˚C).