A Maternity Clinic in Kibera Slum, Nairobi, Kenya

kibera4The Kibera Clinic is one of two clinics currently being run in Nairobi by the organization Mwangaza Ulio ne Tumaini. The first clinic was opened in 1997 in Korogocho slum area, grew rapidly but was closed in 1999 due to insecurity including the fatal shooting of a staff member. A replacement was opened in 2005 and learning from the first experience, it has not had the security issues of its predecessor.The second clinic was started in mid 1999 in Kibera and has had a much steadier history. It currently sees 100 patients a week, quietly providing its outpatient services.

In 2009 the Kibera Clinic took a new direction. Statistics showed that 1 in 12 babies (8.5%) died at or soon after birth and at least 1 in 100 mothers died from child birth. It was decided to offer maternity services for a nominal fee, well below actual cost. Care includes pathology tests, ultrasound, delivery and postnatal care and immunizations for the baby.

The change is dramatic.

Of the first 500 deliveries, no mothers died and only 4 babies. This has made a great impact on the community and adds to the security as no one wants to see this clinic close as the first one did.

The actual cost for this service is $50 but women are charged only $10. This is hardly a good business arrangement but Dr Joe Radkovic explained that in order to reach the poorest girls and mothers, they needed to charge only a token amount. This resulted in a loss of $3,000 a month. Thanks to generous donors, half of the loss was covered by an endowment fund that was used to build a block of rental rooms. These were completed in February 2010.

Another $100,000 is needed to build a second block of rooms which will then make the clinic self sustainable in basic costs.

The immediate needs of a new generator ($13,000), watertanks ($1200), a computer ($800) and multifuel refrigerator to hold immunizations ($500) have been met through donations from MMA.

Small things to help these desperately poor women and babies cost $80 or less.
These include:

  • a pregnancy pack to cover path tests, ultrasound, delivery and postnatal care, and immunizations for the baby for the first year of life ($32).
  • A gift pack to give cash to help with rent, and a hamper containing flour, sugar, tea, soap and nappies ($48).
  • Both packs ($80)

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Photography by Dr Joe Radkovic with permission to use these for information and fund raising purposes.