Case: Equal start for all babies
Background: World Vision Finland wants to work with private sector to have more impact.
We have started cooperation with some companies under our Weconomy consept, one of them being Logonet Ltd, a Finnish owned company that e.g. produces and delivers goods for the Finnish Maternity Kit.
- Some 80 years ago Finland was one of the poorest country in the world, this was time between the Civil War and 2nd World war. We had problems with maternity health and new born mortality. Our government made a bold decision to give all mother’s a grant when a new baby was about to be born. This was given to all the mothers that were registered in healthcare system and thus was an incentive to give safe birth. Tradition that dates back to the 30s and was founded to improve mothers and children’s health and designed to give all children in Finland, no matter what background they’re from, an equal start in life. This Finnish institution is still alive and steady, and it’s a strong part of Finnish welfare policy. This institution has prepared the parents to parenthood for almost last 8 decades. Today Finland is on top of the world when it comes to the lowest levels of mother and new born mortality. Last year KELA gave out appx 60 000 grants.
- Why should not Kenian (any country) babies all have an equal start for life?
To give an equal start for all babies by changing the current situation. Getting mothers and babies registered and getting them in the public health care system. Lower radically the rates of mother and baby mortality.
One tool is to incentivize and motivate mothers with a Baby box to come to clinics. Educate and give and easy access to professional help.
It is not about the goods, it is about changing beliefs and habits sustainably. As Finland did.
Back ground research:
Logonet/Mika Roini and World Vision team made a trip to Kenya to make some background research around the current status of motherhood in Kenya. We also studied the availability and price level of different baby product offerings in rural, urban and refugee environments.
The trip included visits to:
- Finland’s embassy in Nairobi,
- Finpro office in Nairobi
- The slums of Kariobangi
- World Vision Kenya’s Health team, National Director, Operations team, Procurement team etc
- Toy market (lower middle class, second hand)
- Junction Mall (upper class)
- Nakumatt (middle class)
- Kakuma refugee camp market
- Kakuma host community (West Turkana) market
- Refugee camp food market
- Kakuma county health center
- UNHCR motherhood clinic
- Red Cross clinic
- IRC clinic and management
- Mothers in Kakuma, refugees mostly from South Sudan
- Nurses in clinics
- County management
- Toto Health in Nairobi
There is differences in those contexts that we visited. Refugee context is very organized and all the mothers are registered. The hosting community in Kakuma is West Turkana ,where most of the people are nomads and they move around. Urban environment again is different. County clinics are not offering as good services as the organizations do in camps. There is a big gap in the level. Counties and government is not capable of offering competitive services and so most of the health care is relying on NGO’s and other organizations
There are some beliefs and traditions that we also need to consider. The dignity of mothers when they come to the clinics. The belief that if you bury a placenta to a certain place that land becomes yours. The general opinion that only the weak mothers give birth in clinics. etc…
We need to put the standards higher that what it is right now. The interviewed mothers couldn’t even ask for a better life than what they have now. The development starts with higher standards and something to aim for.
Low hanging fruit:
The team with Logonet decided to go for a pilot of 1000 packages that we need to find a sponsor to.
The easiest way to implement this pilot is through Logonet’s logistics and manufacturing. The target group is Kakuma refugees and hosting community. The partners being World Vision with the existing partners in Kakuma. The package needs to be a standard for Turkana environment, no tailoring. The quality needs to be high enough and meet the requirements in that context.
It adds value, it changes behavior, it saves lives.
It’s desirable, it is cost efficient and it is scalable.