In Kenya and other African countries, many newborn infants die from preventable causes, usually infections. Most children are born at home with no medical assistance. In this setting of extreme poverty and lack of health care access, the newborn infants receive little or no care after birth, even when illness strikes. An infection or other illness can rapidly become very serious, even fatal, unless treatment is started quickly. Mothers need local help if these deaths are to be prevented.
Community health workers (CHWs) live in the villages and know their neighbors, speak their language, and share their culture. GHP has provided training for a group of CHWs so that they are able to identify illness early, and educate the mothers about prevention of illness. The CHWs serve about 100 villages in Yatta District. They visit the home of each newborn 3 times during the first week of life, and assist those with signs of illness to get to a clinic or hospital for treatment.
Training local village CHWs increases the local capacity for care of newborns, providing a long-lasting solution to the lack of access to medical care in impoverished African settings. Newborn lives can be saved with this proven and inexpensive approach. This project has the potential to reach about 1,000 newborn infants in the target region of rural Kenya each year. Given the mortality rate for young infants in Kenya, 31 of these 1,000 infants will be expected to die without this type of progra